New seed fund for digital health start-ups

31 Jan 2013

Dr Gerard Boyle, principal physicist at St James's Hospital, pictured with Dorothy Ellen White, project manager, Connected Health, at the launch of the initiative in the Digital Hub

Start-ups in the digital health space will have a chance to secure €15,000 in funding, free office space and enterprise supports as a result of a new digital health project that has been launched by the Digital Hub and St James’s Hospital in Dublin today.

The seed fund is being offered as part of Connected Health, a joint initiative between the Digital Hub Development Agency (DHDA) and St James’s Hospital to support digital technology companies to develop solutions to healthcare challenges.  

Dr Stephen Brennan, chief strategy officer with the DHDA, said the initiative is the result of more than a year of planning and collaboration between St James’s Hospital and the Digital Hub.

He said clinicians at St James’s have identified healthcare challenges that could potentially be resolved through the development of new digital solutions.

“We’re calling on digital entrepreneurs and innovators to submit proposals, outlining how they could resolve the challenges identified by St James’s staff,” said Brennan.

The first call for proposals from start-ups will focus on local asset mapping.  

Digital entrepreneurs will have to outline how they would develop a website and mobile app using local data to document all health-related services in the vicinity of St James’s Hospital.  

One successful applicant will be selected to receive the €15,000 seed funding and package of supports. This will include free office space at the Digital Hub and free enterprise development supports.

Companies will also be able to work directly with clinicians at St James’s Hospital to draw upon the data being captured by the hospital in developing new digital solutions.  

“There is increasing recognition of the need for technology to be used in health services to enhance the delivery of services and increase efficiency,” said Brian Fitzgerald, CEO of St. James’s Hospital.

He said that the advent of newer technologies in recent years, particularly tablet tech, means bedside technology is becoming an integral part of patient care.  

“At St James’s Hospital, we have developed an approach called ‘innovation and quality’, whereby we want as much innovation as possible to be brought to bear in the delivery of our services. Our work with the Digital Hub on Connected Health is very much in keeping with this focus.”

Companies interested in applying for Connected Health must fill out an online application form before 15 February.

A workshop will also take place at the Digital Hub for companies that are applying for funding. 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.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic