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Health Tech: Elad Walach Of Aidoc On How Their Technology Can Make An Important Impact On Our Overall Wellness

An Interview With David Leichner

In recent years, Big Tech has gotten a bad rep. But of course many tech companies are doing important work making monumental positive changes to society, health, and the environment. To highlight these, we started a new interview series about “Technology Making An Important Positive Social Impact”. We are interviewing leaders of tech companies who are creating or have created a tech product that is helping to make a positive change in people’s lives or the environment. As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Elad Walach, CEO of Aidoc.

Elad Walach is the co-founder and CEO of Aidoc, a healthcare AI startup focused on using deep learning to relieve the bottleneck in medical image diagnosis. He is an expert in AI with visionary business insights in the healthcare space. Under Elad’s leadership since the organization’s founding in 2016, Aidoc has managed to grow its install base to more than 1,000 global hospitals while growing the company to over 400 employees.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory and how you grew up?

My backstory is like so many, but it has many crucial moments and people that shaped who I am today. I often get asked about the founding of Aidoc and if there was some monumental life event that inspired the company. Spoiler alert — there isn’t. Aidoc came from a simple desire of wanting to impact people’s lives. My dad was one of the originators of IBM Watson healthcare imaging, which inspired my interest in AI and technology. I started university at 15 years old. It was there that fueled my love of technology and furthered my understanding of how it could help make people’s lives easier. An article from the MIT media lab in particular inspired me early on. The story explained how a webcam could be used to check your heart rate and pulse. I was so awestruck that a simple webcam could do that. I went on to build my version of that application, out of pure curiosity of discovering how it worked. From that moment, I knew then I wanted to make things that matter.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

A picture is worth a thousand words of a story. As we were building Aidoc, one of our first go-lives created various challenges. This was one of the first ever AI systems to go live in the world! We had a lot of support, but also a lot to prove. The first day we went live, we got an email about a case that made us realize we were on a path that will allow us to make a continued impact. This one patient, one wow moment, was enough. Today, this first facility remains one of our closest partners.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

So many outstanding individuals have helped me grow, and I feel grateful for their lessons and contributions to Aidoc and my life. Specifically, I would like to recognize one of my mentors, Yuval Bar-Gil. I was participating in an accelerator program when the program leader shared “there is this amazing mentor that agreed to mentor your team.” She was so excited, and I couldn’t fathom why. At the time, I didn’t know how powerful mentorship could be to my personal growth and business. Yuval has been with me since before the seed round, always helping me think two steps ahead as a leader. This is my first time being the CEO of a billion dollar business, and having someone that has seen that scale before is invaluable. For example, in my first board meeting, I practiced presenting with Yuval for days before putting something in front of the board.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” — Einstein.

I love that this quote reminds me of why I went into healthcare and continue to build Aidoc. It points to a belief I always had — innovate for a purpose, not just for innovation’s sake. If we aren’t not solving real-world challenges or helping people, we aren’t establishing a purpose, and purpose is everything to me.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

  1. Openness to Continuous Improvement.
  • I have always been a believer in the methodology of Kaizen. It is a Japanese word that translates to continuous improvement. It is a strategy where employees at all levels work together to proactively achieve regular, incremental improvements. It is how I have managed my personal growth into a CEO, and how we work together as a team at Aidoc. It isn’t about role or hierarchy, but rather challenging each other to create a powerful engine for improvement.

2. Intellectual Curiosity.

  • I have been CEO of Aidoc for more than 6 years. At first, this was uncharted territory for me but I have always been a seeker of knowledge and information. I listen to audiobooks at 2.5x speed, I dive deep into perspectives from others and have aligned myself with mentors who continue to coach and guide me. All this goes back to a hunger for information and insight.

3. Trust Your Gut.

  • I learned early on to trust my gut. In the early days of Aidoc, making some strategic hires became critical for our growth. I was in the process of interviewing for the head of business development. The candidate had no prior healthcare experience. So, my advisors gave me the feedback to turn him down. However, I saw great potential and decided to hire him. This decision paid off in a big way. After that, we always hired based on potential over experience, and we never regretted this approach.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about the tech tools that you are helping to create that can make a positive impact on our wellness. To begin, which particular problems are you aiming to solve?

Hospital systems are massively complex entities that are populated by brilliant, passionate and committed people. Yet there is a level of challenge that exists in healthcare today. Costs are too high; patients are being underserved; physicians are overwhelmed. The data tsunami — along with the staffing drought — are creating a healthcare crisis. This is where AI comes in to support the realities of healthcare today. At Aidoc, we derive insights from complex data, starting with diagnostic imaging, to aid healthcare teams in optimizing patient treatment, which results both in improved economic value and clinical outcomes.


We built the clinical intelligence layer for the healthcare enterprise to connect data, people and information to deliver timely care interventions. Our AI is always on, filtering through the data from various points of the hospital and flagging potential situations care teams should pay attention to. There is this misconception about AI replacing humans, but AI is about people. We are helping doctors find points of concern so they can offer more timely treatment and care to those who need it.

How do you think your technology can address this?

Through the power of AI, we connect the medical teams responsible for the diagnosis, care and treatment of a patient with the critical data needed to make informed decisions on care interventions and next steps. Our AI layer is a safety net for the physician. It constantly analyzes healthcare data and imaging, trying to detect critical issues. Once an issue is identified, we immediately notify the appropriate physician.

Here’s a quick example. Let’s say a patient is going in for a routine chest exam, following up on a known disease. About 3% of those patients have an incidental pulmonary embolism (PE), which could be life threatening. However, those incidental findings tend to be either handled too late or missed altogether. With our always-on AI, we immediately detect a PE suspicion and notify the radiologist. As a result, urgent treatment is provided, and lives are saved.

Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?

I was fortunate to participate in what is considered Israel’s most elite technology training program and then I headed AI for the Israeli Air Force. During my training, I met the co-founders of Aidoc, Michael Barginsky and Guy Reiner. When we all finished our service together, we knew we wanted to continue collaborating and focused on healthcare. We did this for two reasons. Number one, we crave and are energized by solving tough challenges. Number two, we wanted to make an impact on people’s lives. After talking to physicians, clinicians, patients and others that work in healthcare, we were drawn to the data challenge of radiology.

What we observed was an absolute overload of data that radiologists were encountering. When we looked at that, in combination with radiologists experiencing continued attrition in the profession and an increasing caseload — we wanted to help find a way to manage the realities of this issue.

We determined you cannot just solve the problem for one specific disease, that isn’t how healthcare works. Long before us, there were individual attempts to help physicians through automated image processing. However, typically, these were ad hoc solutions focused on specific diseases. From the users’ point of view, these approaches were untenable. It raised the question of how physicians could work simultaneously with so many different vendor solutions. As we continued with development, we also understood that having a comprehensive solution is crucial, but insufficient. Integrating it seamlessly into the user workflow, or the myriad of different workflows in use today, is essential.

How do you think this might change the world?

In the future, physicians are still firmly holding the helm in healthcare. However, the AI optimizes their work permeating healthcare in the background. For example, say a patient has an accident and arrives at a hospital to be examined for possible rib fractures. A CT-scan is taken, and immediately, AI goes into action. All organs visible on the CT-scan are analyzed. The AI finds no rib fractures, but it does find life-threatening PE. Results are sent then for verification to the appropriate specialist. In parallel, AI coordinates with the operating room and PE Response Team. Immediately, collective action is taken to save the patient’s life. In parallel, all the administrative hassle is resolved (including the payer’s approval).

Furthermore, the system computes calcium scoring and finds that the patient should see a cardiologist for recommendations on preventive treatments to avoid future heart disease. No, it is not “Star Trek medicine” yet. However, it is an AI revolution that cuts billions of dollars in costs , and more importantly, saves tens of thousands of lives.

Is this merely a dream?

Personally, I think we are changing the world now. Aidoc is in more than 1,000 medical centers analyzing more than 2 million scans a month. I often get messages, calls and texts from physicians telling me how Aidoc helped save a patient’s life. Healthcare is all about time. The faster you can diagnose a patient, the faster you can get them on a path to healing, or provide them with treatment. We help facilities go from data-heavy to data-driven and flag issues that need immediate attention and consideration. Our customers, like Yale New Haven Hospital and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, have conducted clinical research showing that our technology has contributed to reducing the length of stay for patients, which benefits the patient, their family and the hospital.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

We hear a lot of speculation about relying too much on technology, AI not delivering its promise for the healthcare industry or AI replacing radiologists completely. Can such unsubstantiated ideas cause damage? Yes. Let me give you one example. There is anecdotal evidence that some physicians chose not to specialize in radiology because they were told that radiology is “passé.” As a result, a shortage of radiologists has been exasperated. This is why we never tire of explaining the facts. AI has been commercially available in healthcare settings since 2019. In just three years, the impact of healthcare AI has proven to be massive.

I do believe that the expectations surrounding healthcare AI need to be adjusted.

AI should not be looked at as a ‘savior’ for healthcare, but as a tool that empowers physicians with “superhuman” capabilities. I see AI as one of the few burgeoning technologies that will help health systems rise above some of today’s challenges and operate at an even higher standard. At Aidoc, we’re proud to say that our healthcare AI has already shown that its implementation results in real improved patient outcomes. The market needs healthcare AI to continue evolving and playing a central role in improving hospital workflows, care coordination and eventually, an end-to-end solution to address multiple points on the patient care continuum.

Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, can you please share “Five things you need to know to successfully create technology that can make a positive social impact”?

  1. Organizations often don’t realize their problems — you can’t solely rely on customer feedback before getting to market. You must rely on data and experimentation. Ford famously said, “if I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Same for healthcare. In our case, for example, we weren’t aware of how much the coordination of patients is an issue and how many patients fall through the cracks between departments.
  2. Think big. Don’t get me wrong, you can develop an amazing business by solving a niche problem, but I think the world needs entrepreneurs that think about big, complex problems. One can express this notion as follows: “try to solve big issues, they are not necessarily more difficult than small problems, but if you solve them, you make a big impact”. We started with an algorithm that can detect brain bleeds. Yes, that’s a problem. But we always wanted to focus on the bigger problems of data in healthcare and enabling the health system of the future. That bigger picture enabled us to raise money, attract customers and get the talent we need to change the world.
  3. Don’t think about a revolution, think about an evolution — one of the biggest hurdles for adoption in healthcare is workflow. Companies believe their product is so massively valuable that they can replace the whole physician workflow and develop a new one. Typically, that’s not the case. I believe in step-by-step evolution. You should work with the existing players (in our case, physicians). You should work to integrate into existing tools. You should make it seamless. And step-by-step, you’ve transformed an industry.
  4. Think Customers First — Our first hire in the U.S. was someone dedicated to customer success. Our CTO and I answered support calls for the company for the first few years. Being close to our customers is our biggest strength, and allows us to innovate to solve real needs.
  5. Externalize value — Organizations oftentimes don’t understand the value of new technology. So, we have a relentless focus on showing that value and the ROI. In healthcare, a lot of it is driven by research. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center recently published a new study showing how using AI reduced length of stay, a critical measure for health systems. This measurement is key to ensuring we have buy-in from all stakeholders.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

We all need to leave the world better than we found it. I think the important part of doing that is understanding impact versus an idea. When I led AI research in the military, I learned early on that you can have the best idea in the world, but if it doesn’t serve a purpose or you can’t operationalize it, the idea will have little impact.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)

Probably the most well-known person I would want to dive into a conversation with would be Elon Musk. He is such a powerhouse innovator and does amazing things when it comes to pushing boundaries on what is possible for humanity. I would also love to sit down with two industry people: Sam Hazen, CEO of HCA Healthcare, and Judy Faulkner, CEO and founder of Epic. Both are making remarkable contributions to healthcare today in terms of innovation, and I would love to explore how they think and where they think healthcare is heading in the next ten to twenty years.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Social media is a great way to keep up to date with our happenings, we have Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn profiles. You can also check out our blog here. Please feel free to connect with us! I also love chatting with people from my personal LinkedIn where I share insights around AI, healthcare technology, and the hospital of the future. Would love for you to join me in the conversation.

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational, and we wish you continued success in your important work.

About The Interviewer: David Leichner is a veteran of the Israeli high-tech industry with significant experience in the areas of cyber and security, enterprise software and communications. At Cybellum, a leading provider of Product Security Lifecycle Management, David is responsible for creating and executing the marketing strategy and managing the global marketing team that forms the foundation for Cybellum’s product and market penetration. Prior to Cybellum, David was CMO at SQream and VP Sales and Marketing at endpoint protection vendor, Cynet. David is the Chairman of the Friends of Israel and Member of the Board of Trustees of the Jerusalem Technology College. He holds a BA in Information Systems Management and an MBA in International Business from the City University of New York.



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David Leichner, CMO at Cybellum

David Leichner is a veteran of the high-tech industry with significant experience in the areas of cyber and security, enterprise software and communications