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Kieran McCorry

National Technology Officer, Microsoft Ireland

Over the last two years, we have seen a significant acceleration of digital transformation and the adoption of new technologies in healthcare spurred on by the challenges of the pandemic.

The pandemic disruption within healthcare has created a renewed need for digital services and solutions. For the HSE, at the height of the pandemic, and in the absence of in-person capacity, the need for these timesaving services became even more apparent.

A catalyst for change

“The COVID-19 emergency has acted as a catalyst for increasing digitalisation across all sectors, but especially in the public sector” says Kieran McCorry, National Technology Officer, Microsoft Ireland.

“According to our research report, Digital Ireland – Inclusive Recovery, leaders in healthcare are more likely to say they are only at beginning of their technology journey. What is now clear is that the acceleration of digitalisation has exposed differing needs and challenges across healthcare provision. We are only at the start of a lengthy process of adjustment to the new realities of a post-pandemic economy and society in Ireland.”

What is now clear is that the acceleration of digitalisation has exposed differing needs and challenges across healthcare provision.

Fair, equitable access to healthcare

“At Microsoft, we believe that every Irish citizen deserves the best healthcare services on a fair and equitable basis. Our healthcare strategy is centred on three pillars; to focus on enhancing patient engagement, empowering collaboration among healthcare teams and improving clinical and operational insights.

“Since the launch of Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, we’ve been helping to solve some of healthcare’s greatest challenges. These include enabling virtual health and remote patient monitoring to managing health data at scale to provide a 360 view of the patient.”

The HSE has embraced several new digital tools that not only provided flexibility, scale and responsiveness, but also helped the organisation to process and derive insights from significant amounts of data through the use of digital-based systems.

Supporting the healthcare system

The roll-out of these digital solutions assisted in delivering insights, facts and data in real-time in order to enable decision making, as well as support resourcing planning and the dissemination of information to the public.

Pre-existing eHealth tools such as e-Prescribing, eReferrals and telemedicine were increasingly adopted and used over the pandemic period. New health technologies such as cloud-based data lake platforms were used to collect COVID-19 data in real time. AI-based technology was implemented through the COVID-19 triage Health Chatbot.

The adoption of these innovations shows what our health system is capable of implementing in a short time. Now is the time to further strengthen these improvements and successes to build a resilient, leading healthcare systems for future generations.

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