A new healthcare project has launched in Cork today to bring together six healthcare companies with the health system and academia in order to help such companies move faster on developing products and services.
The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton, TD, and the Minister for Health Dr James Reilly, TD, launched the new Health Innovation Hub project at University College Cork (UCC) today.
The project, which has been based on international models, such as the North Carolina Research Triangle, is aiming to progress healthcare technologies.
The idea is to help healthcare companies deliver commercial products and services more quickly by giving them access to the health service in order to test products in a real-life environment. Another aim of the project is to allow the health service to become more efficient by enabling the HSE and hospitals to engage and participate with companies that are creating solutions.
Six Irish healthcare companies will now be taking part in the demonstrator project. They include Abtran, which is working on a GP referral system in hospitals to reduce costs, improve waiting lists and improve patient care. Arann Healthcare is working with Cork University Hospital to develop a mattress sterilisation product.
Helix Health is pioneering an electronic prescription service to send prescriptions automatically from GPs to pharmacies. Radisens Diagnostics is working with hospitals to develop technology to allow GPs to take and process blood tests in their surgeries.
Rigney Dolphin is working with Cork University Hospital (CUH) to develop a post-discharge patient telephone follow-up programme. The aim is to help prevent avoidable re-admissions and to improve continuity of care. Sláinte Healthcare is developing paperless testing data with the Warfarin Clinic at CUH.
A collaborative venture between Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, the HSE, Cork Institute of Technology and University College Cork, the hub is being driven by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Health.
Dave Shanahan, head of strategic health initiatives at Abbott and national project team chairman, said Ireland is now recognising the "critical role" the national healthcare system has in supporting domestic innovation and commercialisation.
"The global healthcare market of US$2.5trn requires ongoing product and service innovation. Ireland, with its unique concentration of pharmaceutical, medical device and ICT industries, is uniquely placed to exploit this market, provided we join up all elements of the value chain," he said.
Siliconrepublic.com is hosting Med Tech Focus, an initiative which over coming months will cover news, reports, interviews and videos documenting Ireland’s leading role in one of the hottest sectors in technology.