5,000 digital healthcare jobs could be created in Ireland by 2020

15 Dec 2011

Some 5,000 new jobs could be created by 2020 if Ireland seizes the opportunity to establish an International Healthcare Services Centre, which would serve the global healthcare industry with cloud, financial, supply chain and remote healthcare services.

An economic impact study by Trinity College economist Constantin Gurdgiev estimated that 5,000 new jobs could be created.

The International Healthcare Services Centre (IHSC) idea, which last year was a runner-up in the Your Country Your Call initiative, is the brainchild of former Intel digital healthcare executive Joe Dalton.

In recent months, Dalton established his own technology start-up Intellehealth as a joint venture with Dutch electronics giant Philips to enable remote monitoring of chronic conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.

Turning the IHSC idea into a reality

Dalton’s idea has so far gained the support companies like Mason Hayes Curran and Neworld Associates, as well as endorsements from HP, IBM, Intel and Cerner.

Both Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland have also expressed support for the concept.

The missing piece of the jigsaw is a location for the ISHC, Dalton explained, that would turn his vision from a concept into a reality and from there allow IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland to attract the businesses and once again make Ireland a hub for an exciting new export industry.

“Essentially, the idea is to set up an IFSC-like centre that deals specifically with services related to healthcare provision, services such as IT, supply chain and procurement, remote healthcare and insurance services.

“It is non-medical in the sense that it is not offering direct medical expertise, but instead centralising ancillary support functions, functions that currently costs the healthcare industry a lot of money.”

Dalton said Ireland currently has aces up its sleeve in terms of the significant presence of major industries like ICT, medical devices, pharmaceuticals and financial services. This is not to mention the increasing number of fibre-optic networks and data centre operations sprouting up in Ireland.

“Ireland would be an obvious country for this new industry. Cast your mind 10 years from now, we will be kicking ourselves if other locations around the world get there before us,” Dalton said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years