Two digital Irish maternity hospitals

Ireland has two digital hospitals delivering maternity services with two more coming on line shortly, Richard Corbridge, HSE Chief Information Officer and Chief Executive, Officer, eHealth Ireland and Maria O’Loughlin, Adviser eHealth Ireland told the AGORA.

Richard Corbridge
Richard Corbridge

They said that working with Yvonne Gough, HSE Chief Clinical Information Officer, they worked to ensure that clinicians knew what digital could do for health care.

“We stopped focusing on the technical and started talking about the business effects. It was about changing the mindset. We wanted to create a digital health system led by clinicians and with patients at the centre of healthcare. We went out and spoke to patients and clinicians. We visited 19 hospitals to discover their digital challenges and how we could solve them. We have also been promoting collaborations between patient groups, charities and academia.”

Mr. Corbridge – who has been named one of the top ten most influential Chief Information Officers in Europe – said that in Ireland digital investment was being done carefully, which might take longer but was more efficient.

“Ireland’s healthcare system today is predominantly paper based. We spend money on taxis to move paper around the system. We assume that the health service in Ireland is not capable of delivering digital yet there are amazing examples of digital excellence being delivered in our hospitals.”

Mr. Corbridge and Ms. O’Loughlin said that a digital system was the only way to achieve integrated healthcare in this country.

St. Isidore wrote a 20 book opus, known as the Origins, in which he tried to record everything that was known. Published in 636, it was for a thousand years considered the encyclopaedia of all human knowledge.

They cited some examples of ehealth projects which had been really beneficial for patients and also saved considerable amounts of money.

“The Individual Health Identifier has gone live and will be introduced incrementally over the next year. We consulted widely with patients and clinicians and we hope incorporated the views of both groups as to how it could make their lives and work simpler and more effective.

“The Individual Health Identifier Programme is a key enabler that allows information to be shared about a patient.

“It is enabling us to move from paper records locked in organisations to a digital shared patient record.

“We have introduced the first epilepsy genomic sequencing project (which identify genes that affect the response to treatment) in the world and it is saving the HSE €5 million this year.

“Then there is Ireland’s first healthcare supply chain management solution deployed to the homes of patients with haemophilia. This has saved €2 million in two years.”

Mr. Corbridge said Saint Isidore was the patron saint of computers, their users, programmers, repair men and the Internet as a whole.  “St. Isidore wrote a 20 book opus, known as the Origins, in which he tried to record everything that was known. Published in 636, it was for a thousand years considered the encyclopaedia of all human knowledge.

“So the next time you’re faced with a computer problem of such magnitude as to require a miracle to fix it, rest assured Isidore is on it.”