Digital health – the skills of the future discussed at event

Over 50 people from across the healthcare industry gathered in Ernst and Young (EY) on Harcourt Street on 22nd November to hear about the latest innovations in digital health. The event, entitled ‘The Skills of the Future’, was hosted by the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) and sponsored by EY. It provided an insight into the area of digital health and shared best practice examples from around the world and the skills needed for the future.

The evening’s key note address was delivered by Ms Etain Seymour, Head of Digital at Zoetis.  She spoke about her background in retail and her move into the healthcare sphere and outlined that the healthcare industry knows it should engage with digital but lags well behind the retail industry in engaging with end users.  However, she noted that there were some great examples of where healthcare was using digital to engage with patients.

Attendees were particularly impressed with the use of digital from Melanoma Patients Australia for their “Melanoma likes me” awareness campaign.  An algorithm was created to respond to common hashtags and geo-located images on social media, millions of customised messages were sent to sun seekers at exactly the right time and by clicking on the link, users could find out more information about melanoma prevention.

Ms Seymour later joined discussion panelists Ciara Finlay, Medtech and engineering executive with IBEC, Marie McCarthy, senior director production Innovation at ICON and Gillian Laffan, HBA Dublin Chapter President and Pfizer finance project manager.  The panel addressed questions from the audience regarding the challenge of upskilling on digital for healthcare employees.

IBEC’s Ciara Finlay suggested “reverse mentoring” as a solution to address the skills gap. This involves healthcare executives engaging with generation “Y” to utilise their knowledge and skills in exchange for work experience and career enhancement. This provides a win to both parties involved in the process.

ICON’s Marie McCarthy stressed the role of digital innovation to be used only when needed to supplement delivery of a project and not a means in itself. The evening was moderated by EY’s Michelle Cuddigan, Life Sciences Advisory Lead for Ireland.

Gillian Laffan HBA President said “I was delighted with the quality of speakers for this event and I really hope that attendees and HBA members found the evening’s discussion useful for their role in healthcare. Our core purpose is to further the advancement and impact of women in the business of healthcare and our hope is that events such as this will help to drive that.”

Mary Jones, managing director of Mobile Medical Diagnostics, who attended agreed “that the event was very informative and thought the examples given for the use of digital were very relevant and have enabled new patient centered access routes to diagnostics within the community.  Her organisation is using cloud technology and remote connectivity to deliver this customised service”.

Kathy Whyte, founder of Nurture Mum (supporting pregnancy wellness @ work) attended to get more information on digital to accelerate her business said “the networking opportunity to promote my new business was great and I have made some good contacts from the evening and will join the HBA Dublin chapter as a result.”

The HBA Dublin chapter is seeking new members to get involved with the 2019 calendar of events and is asking for both male and female colleagues with an interest in joining the HBA to log onto www.hbanet.org and enlist to become members of the HBA Dublin Chapter or email HBA Dublin Chapter vice president alette.brinth@pfizer.com. The HBA is a global non-profit organisation comprised of individuals and organisations from across the healthcare industry committed to; achieving gender parity in leadership positions, facilitating career and business connections, providing effective practices that enable organisations to realise the full potential of their female talent.

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