Fourth Hanukkah Candle: A Telemedicine Innovation for COVID-19 Times

Monday, Dec 14 2020

“I can't find decent latkes.”

That sentence is not intended to convey a culinary complaint. It is a diagnostic tool to hear, through telemedicine, if someone is experiencing heart failure. The way the “e” in the word decent sounds provides the clue to a cardiologist listening from afar.

The telemedicine tool was one of the 70 innovations submitted to the Innovation in Cardiovascular Interventions (ICI) 2020 Global Digital Summit. Founded by the Hadassah Medical Organization’s Prof. Chaim Lotan with colleague Dr. Rafi Beyar from Rambam Hospital in Haifa, ICI welcomed 2,500 cardiologists from 50 countries to the online conference, December 6 and 7.

“The emphasis this year, because of COVID-19, was obviously on telemedicine,” says Prof. Lotan. “We know we need to diagnose patients from afar.”

The concept driving Prof. Lotan’s innovation is that a careful analysis of an individual’s voice can reveal whether or not the person’s lungs are overburdened by heart fluid. “On a cellphone, the cardiologist's ear isn't fine-tuned enough to pick up the problem,” Prof. Lotan explains, “but we are building an algorithm which is.”

And the latkes? “Not too many, ‘decent’ or not,” advises Prof. Lotan.

At the Lotan home, there hasn't been much time for labor-intensive cooking, with Prof. Lotan chairing the ICI summit and his wife, senior Hadassah nurse Dorit Weil-Lotan, taking on her newest responsibility of heading the team that will shortly begin vaccinating Hadassah staff against COVID-19.

During this week of Hanukkah candle lighting, we can reflect on how many life-saving innovations, created at Hadassah, are lighting up our world.

Learn more about the Hadassah Medical Organization.

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