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Richard Corbridge & Maria O’ Loughlin Talk Health Innovation Week 2017

Health Innovation Week 2017 is a series of interactive events that encourage creation, learning and collaboration by exhibiting the technologies that have the power to revolutionise the Irish healthcare system by 2030 and furthermore, build a better health service.

The HSE and eHealth Ireland teamed up to ensure that a range of free events were available to the public for Health Innovation Week this year.

Beginning last Friday (October 20th), today (October 25th) marks the last day of events.

Chief Information Officer for HSE and Chief Executive Officer for eHealth Ireland, Richard Corbridge told the Garda Post:

“Health Innovation Week started last year and we had our first week of activities last year with an idea to put what digital innovation in healthcare can do into the public domain. After all, if we’re going to pay for digital health and changes in healthcare then it’s the public who are going to pay for it through taxing.

“So this year we decided to start Health Innovation Week in Cork on Friday. The event in Cork was themed around digital thread and connecting the threads and was in Cork University Business School where they are doing a MSc in digital health. Minister Daly opened it with Micheál Martin and we went through a number of different examples of what digital can do in health care through some workshop type activities about the different views of what innovation is. Professor Green talked about the environments first digital hospital and the work that was done there last December. 120 people came together to really understand the first parts of it.”

Health Innovation Week kicked off at Spencer Dock over the space of Saturday and Sunday, an event titled the “Hackathon” was themed around mental health and the elderly.

Maria O’Loughlin, eHealth Ireland’s Advisor at the HSE said:

“We had different apps and mood diaries that tracked how people were feeling that would actually link them to their carers or people minding them. It would also prompt the carers or their families that the person wasn’t feeling the best.

“One of the interesting things was that there were a couple of teams that came pre-formed on the day and knew what they wanted to do. We had people coming in from Moroco and Turkey who landed two days previous and they heard about the Hackathon and the difference we were trying to make in that particular area.

On the Innovation Day which took place at Dublin Castle on Monday, Mr Corbridge said:

“This was a combination of a lot of things including a kids school competition for digital makers. We took over the entire castle and had two areas for lectures basically, one on digital innovation and the arts of being innovative in digital and another on digital clinicians. Clinicians came from all across Europe to talk about the directives of digital, people from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the U.K.

“In the main auditorium area we had digital robots, we had A.I, we had virtual reality on show. Around 500 people came to this.”

A competition for school kids across Ireland was held over an eight-week period to get young minds thinking about what the digital healthcare system could look like by 2030. Ms Loughlin described some of these ideas as “amazing, crazy and innovative”.

Over 250 individual deliveries from over 43 schools were submitted with nine lucky finalists getting through to the Innovative Showcase on Monday.

“We had mentors from Intel, from Eir, Microsoft and Samsung that actually sat with the kids to help them further develop their ideas over two hours. The kids were able to go around to all the different exhibitors and utilise technology that was there. They even got to chat to the company representative of the guys who made the Da Vinci robot, which is a huge robot involved in war conflict zones”, said Ms O’Loughlin.

The Da Vinci Robot

“The overall winner for the primary school was a really interesting idea. Two girls of the ages of nine and ten thought of the idea of making a sign language app that could be used in pretty much any language. There were loads of functionalities to this app. The app would actually vibrate in your pocket. It could vibrate to music so kids could dance along to music even if they couldn’t hear it.

“Other kids entered in ideas around DNA regeneration and how they could take different parts of DNA to regenerate good cells and use different ways to eliminate cancer. There was a lot of research into these areas which was absolutely incredible.”

On yesterday’s event, Mr Corbridge said:

“We had something called the Executive Leadership Summit which was run by an organisation called HIMMS, a global organisation which looks after digital healthcare across the globe and brings people together. It’s the first time that an Executive Leadership Summit has been held in Dublin which is quite a big thing for Dublin to attract. 200 people from across the E.U came together to talk about the different things we can learn from each other surrounding digital health. We had Chief Executive of CHIME, which is an education organisation in the U.S for people who are in healthcare technology. He came over and did the key notes at the end of the day yesterday which was amazing.

Ms O’ Loughlin added:

“Around the rise of machines. He talked about how innovation is happening globally in health and the differences they are going to make in healthcare. It’s quite astounding some of the things that are being made in health. Some of the things he was talking about, you’d think they are science fiction, but it’s not, they are actually being developed right now.

Today, the eHealth Ireland Ecosystem event is focusing on patients experiences in healthcare and how digital can provide a better experience for them.

Health Innovation Week 2017 wraps up with how we can all band together to make digital healthcare more efficient. This evening, from 6pm at 37 Dawson Street will be, what is described by Mr Corbridge and Ms O’Loughlin, as “a bit of a celebration”, and connect digital healthcare professionals together.

For more information on Health Innovation Week you can visit

*Further images to follow


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