Innovative digital health project to improve patient care launched by University of Galway on Clare Island

A one million euro Cisco – CÚRAM funded partnership will implement and evaluate an innovative digital health infrastructure to improve patient care

Researchers at the Health Innovation Via Engineering (HIVE) Laboratory, University of Galway will use state of the art medical device technology including remote sensors and artificial intelligence software as part of a suite of interventions to deliver next generation chronic disease management in the community.

Modern medicine has meant that people are living longer and correspondingly there has been an increase in chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and therefore new approaches are needed to deliver this care efficiently and effectively, as was evidenced during Covid public health restrictions.

The Home Health project combines video consultations with remote physiological monitoring, including blood pressure, weight, blood sugar, to deliver more useful virtual care.

It aims, through supporting and adding to existing healthcare provision, to improve the management of patient care for the 165 residents on Clare Island and make the island a beacon for the delivery of digital health solutions.

Its multi-stakeholder engagement will ensure a sustainable and scalable solution is created though the Health Service Executive living lab framework.

Dr Noreen Curtis, GP in Clare Island, said: “I am very excited with the Home Health project and anticipate that improving virtual care will augment the current services and improve overall care for the patients here.”

Project Principal Investigator and CÚRAM-Funded Investigator Professor Derek O’Keeffe said: “Digital health is the future of medicine and data empowers the patient and allows them and their clinicians to make better medical decisions.”

The Home Health project will also investigate the development of a dynamic medical appointments architecture, whereby patients are scheduled to be reviewed based on clinical need rather than the traditional static calendar appointments. In addition the project will evaluate novel health promotion interventions, drone delivery of medications and robotic triage simulation.

To overcome the digital divide, a central part of the project is the development of a new, private 5G network on the island to enable monitoring of data.

Brian Jordan, Head of Innovation and Industry Solutions, Cisco Ireland said: “There is a transformative opportunity to map virtual care digital technology to the entire patient care continuum. Bridging the capabilities of AI, connectivity, the world of IOT enabled medical devices and cybersecurity will enable this. Cisco are delighted to work with the University of Galway, HSE, and the wider healthcare ecosystem to bring the ‘Shift Left, Stay Left’ HSE vision into reality.”

Commenting on the significance of the project, CÚRAM Director Professor Abhay Pandit, said: “This project is one of the largest industry collaborations our centre has supported to date. It is an excellent example of the impact that collaborations between CÚRAM and industry can have on local communities and society at wide.”

As well as CÚRAM and Cisco, the project has multiple stakeholders including the island community, HSE and the Western Development Commission. Public Patient Involvement (PPI) is a central theme of the HOME HEALTH project, having the island community involved in all aspects of the project planning, development and implementation.

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