Ministers launch Health Innovation Hub in UCC
Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD and the Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly TD launched the Health Innovation Hub Demonstrator Project which will bring together the health system, enterprise and academia in an environment where new ideas can be developed and grown.
The aim of the Project which is based on international models including the North Carolina Research Triangle is twofold:
- Firstly, to allow healthcare companies to more quickly and more successfully deliver commercial products and services which can create jobs, by giving them access to the health service to test products in a real life environment and refine their products to ensure they can ultimately offer the solutions which healthcare need
- Secondly, to allow the health service to find efficiencies and improvements by facilitating the HSE and hospitals to engage and participate with innovative companies creating solutions to problems they face.
Today’s announcement marks the official opening of the Demonstrator Project of the Hub located at the Western Gateway Building in UCC. This phase of the Project brings together six innovative Irish healthcare companies with the health service by providing dedicated contact points, office space and access to the hospital system in Cork.
The six companies taking part in the demonstrator project, selected in part due to the relevance of their work to the needs of the health system, are:
- Abtran, which employs over 1000 people in Ireland, is working on an innovative GP referral system in hospitals to reduce costs, improve waiting lists and improve care;
- Arann, which is working with Cork University Hospital to develop a mattress sterilisation product;
- Helix Health, which is creating an electronic prescription service which will allow prescriptions to be sent automatically from GPs to pharmacies;
- Radissens, which is working with a number of hospitals to develop technology which will allow GPs to take and process blood tests in their surgeries;
- Rigney Dolphin, which is developing along with CUH a post discharge patient telephone follow up programme which will help prevent avoidable readmissions and improve continuinty of care;
- Sláinte, which is developing paperless testing data with the Warfarin Clinic at Cork University Hospital.
The Hub will build on the strong pharmaceutical, medical device and software industries currently established in Ireland. Medical devices and pharmaceuticals alone directly employ over 50,000 people and are responsible for over €50billion in annual exports. Driven by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Health, it is a collaborative venture between Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, the Health Service Executive, Cork Institute of Technology and University College Cork.
Head of the College of Medicine and Health at UCC and leader of the local steering group, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology John Higgins said, “It is fitting that the Health Innovation Hub Demonstrator Project should be located in this very large Western Gateway building which is an example of the type of capital investment that needs to be made if Ireland is to be committed to the development of the knowledge economy. For healthcare reform to be sustainable, we need the energy of research and business with their focus on international competitiveness, on hard outcomes, on innovative solutions to old problems. In Cork, we are planning a health summit in the coming months to look at practical ways of making the healthcare spectrum the main driver of our strategic development in the College of Medicine and Health”.