Professor Martin Curley
Director of Digital Transformation and Open Innovation, HSE
Our healthcare system is lagging in terms of digital health maturity compared to other countries in Europe. To be able to progress medically, we need to transform the health service digitally.
The health service has demonstrated, throughout the pandemic agility, flexibility and innovation. However, we are the fourth lowest in Europe for electronic health record maturity. Our healthcare costs are 20% higher than the European average, despite us having a younger and healthier population than many European countries. To address this challenge, we need to think differently and deliver radical innovation.
Digital technology can deliver radical improvements
Over the past two years, we have been working within the health system to co-design and test new digital solutions with managers, clinicians and patients in a network of over 40 Digital Living labs.
Collaboration across all of government, civil service, industry and society is required to address the significant challenge to transform the health service to become more digitally enabled. Our goal is to leapfrog in Digital Health maturity and we have made significant progress through the pandemic– according to the OECD, we are now fourth in Europe for Teleconsultations, up from last. We now have a world leading respiration measurement solution in 23 hospitals which gives much earlier notice of a patient deterioration to allow early intervention. Ireland is now rated as a faster follower in Europe for Digital Therapeutics regulation. These are important first steps.
Our healthcare costs are 20% higher than the European average, despite us having a younger and healthier population than many European countries.
Key principles for moving forward
- We will leapfrog from a health system that is primarily paper, presence, clinician and acute centred to one that is digital, home/community-based, cloud-based and, most importantly, patient-centred.
- We will move towards a healthcare system where the primary improvements in life expectancy and health outcomes will be enabled by digital technology, data-driven care and innovation, enabled by disruptive technologies such as the internet of things and artificial intelligence.
- Stay Left, Shift Left is our digital health innovation strategy which aligns very closely with Sláintecare. Stay left is about keeping people well, or if a citizen happens to have a chronic condition that he/she can be managed best of all from home. Shift Left is about moving patients as quickly as possible from acute care to community to a home setting.
We have a strong alignment amongst key stakeholders in the health ecosystem and by partnering with a shared vision, we can drive a breakthrough improvement in our health service. With the collective power of the country behind this initiative we cannot fail, nor can we afford to fail as it is just too important. Let’s do this!