A new paperless clinic in Cork University Hospital and an eprescription scheme – e Script Faster, Safer, Easier- which would enable patients to get their GP prescriptions faster were two recent innovations which had been successfully trialled by the Health Innovation Hub, Dr. Colman Casey, Administrative Director for Research and Industrial Liaison, College of Medicine and Health UCC, Interim Director Cork Science and Innovation Park and Interim Director Demonstrator, Health Innovation Hub told the Conference.
He said the Health Innovation Hub (HIH) supported the collaboration of multiple Is stakeholders working to develop new approaches to improve patient care. These collaborations were essential and could bring a quantum change in delivering enhanced services and improving the use of resources.
“They will allow us to explore how innovation and technology can help us harness possibilities with the potential to radically alter how we can deliver our services. Innovation and technology, coupled with improved clinical and administrative processes, will be key enablers of the changes required.”
Neoview is a neonatal intensive care viewer for improved patient care and enhanced family well being.
Dr. Casey said that in its Action Plan for Jobs 2012 the Government committed to deliver a Health Innovation Hub, which would drive collaboration between the health system and commercial enterprises, lead to the development and commercialisation of new healthcare technologies, products, services and start-ups and which would emerge from within the health system and/or firms.
A National Project Team was appointed in 2012 to drive this imitative and included membership from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation, the Department of Health, the, industry and with clinical leadership from the HSE. Western Gateway Building UCC was the location selected for the Demonstrator Hub.
Enterprise Ireland issued a call for applicant companies in June 2012. There were 21 applicants and six were chosen. They were Abtran (GP referral), Helix Health (ePrescription), Arann Technologies (sterilisation technology), Radisens Diagnostics (Point Of Care Testing), Rigney Dolphin (Post Hospital Discharge Follow Up) and Slainte Healthcare (Paperless Clinic).
“The Paperless Clinic, developed from this process, is due to be launched in Cork University Hospital in the next few weeks. The objective was to install 20 bedside screen units (donated by Lincor) in a brand new respiratory ward in CUH. We worked with Lincor and with respiratory clinicians, nurses, dieticians and physiotherapists on screens designed for entertainment to provide additional functionality. This included provision on screen of disease specific patient information currently done through handouts or verbally. The next step will allow the clinician, on presentation of a special card bedside, access this patient’s protected clinical data, which will disappear when she or he removes the card. The keyboard can also be removed for sterilisation. They are now in the process of installing these units.”
The Hub had instigated and managed projects with 27 companies in seven hospitals, two primary care centres, four stand alone GPs, 19 pharmacies and 19 clinicians and their teams.
A follow on project, Neoview, has also developed from this. It is a neonatal intensive care viewer for improved patient care and enhanced family well being. It will provide virtual visitation for families, improving parental well being through enhanced cotside education, reducing procedural errors through enhanced education and monitoring and virtual physician presence in the NICU.
“Helix Health undertook a successful trial of their eprescription project in Blackpool, Cork. This involved two GPs, seven pharmacies and 1,467 prescriptions. There was excellent feedback from GPs, some of the pharmacies and all patients interviewed and just today, Helix Health launched a product – e Script Faster, Safer, Easier. The legal document in Ireland is a handwritten prescription but this scheme offers patients the opportunity to have their pharmacies notified of their medication electronically in advance of their going to the pharmacy where they can then hand over their scripts and collect their medications which will be waiting for them.
“We are also running a clinical trial for a replacement of plaster of paris which would allow patients to shower and swim.”
Dr. Casey said The Health Innovation Hub was now working with technology and services that had demonstrated pre-commercial readiness and had the potential to significantly impact infection control and hygiene management in the healthcare sector, particularly in primary and acute healthcare settings.
The Hub had instigated and managed projects with 27 companies in seven hospitals, two primary care centres; four stand alone GPs, 19 pharmacies and 19 clinicians and their teams.
“We facilitate the engagement of healthcare teams, we implement and manage product and project trials, we broker relationships between healthcare and industry in order to fast track innovation development and implementation, we assist companies by locating the best clinical setting to pilot or trail a product.
We provide experts to facilitate protocol design, regulatory advice, methodology, statistical review and project managers to lead and facilitate the implementation and completion of projects. In Ireland there are multiple supports for companies to bring these ideas to the patients but the process is neither clear nor smooth. The approval by Government of Health Innovation Hub Ireland will help to streamline this process.
“Ireland is well positioned for change with its academic and technological institutes entrepreneurs and technically skilled workforce, strong industry base supportive government agencies, robust regulatory framework, the reconfigured hospital network, clinical research facilities network, strong pharmacy, community health & primary care networks and strong ethics committees.”