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UK and Ireland collaborate to catalyse digital health innovation

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Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE) and the UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) have announced a collaboration to accelerate digital innovation and propel Ireland’s potential as a European digital leader.

The collaboration is expected to bring mutual benefits to the health systems in both the UK and Ireland and will involve the exploration of opportunities to tap into the UK’s burgeoning digital health sector.

There will be a particular focus on the expertise highlighted through the DIT Digital Health Playbook – a publication from Healthcare UK that highlights the best in breed of UK digital and ICT solutions

The new collaboration was announced at a virtual trade mission hosted by the British Embassy in Dublin in October.

At the event, ten UK digital health companies, who all feature in the DIT Digital Health playbook, pitched their solutions to the evaluation team to explore the possibility of HSE investment.

Hassan Chaudhury, global digital health specialist for Healthcare UK said: “The DIT Digital Health Playbook contains a unique 10 part taxonomy focusing on needs.

“It articulates the exportable strengths that the UK has in health tech and showcases those that stand out for being tried and tested and most importantly, making a difference across one of the most complex health systems in the world, during its most challenging time.

“I am excited to see how this taxonomy can combine with the HSE innovation on ‘Stay Left, Shift Left’ methodology for the benefit of citizens and health systems.”

In a video message broadcast at the event, Stephen Donnelly, minister for health in Ireland, said it is now more important than ever to learn from each other and to build links between industry and health services that will ultimately benefit patients in both health systems.

He spoke of the Irish government’s commitment to the Sláintecare reform programme and how digital health is central to its ambition to ‘deliver the right care, in the right place, at the right time’.

He said: “The HSE’s Digital Transformation Strategy aims to make Ireland a Digital Health leader in Europe by 2025.

“We are on track to achieve this. I look forward to the strengthening of our mutually beneficial and collaborative relationship into the future.”

The HSE’s ‘Shift Left, Stay Left’ digital transformation strategy, which is underpinned by the Sláintecare health policy to transform Ireland’s health and social care services, aims to use technology to help keep people well and keep people at home.

Professor Martin Curley, director of digital transformation at Ireland’s Health Service Executive, said: “Our digital strategy is ambitious, yet determined.

“‘Stay Left, Shift Left’ is about the use of technology to move people as quickly as possible from an acute, to a community, to a home setting. In forming this collaboration, we are looking to tap into the digital innovation and expertise that is out there that can do this, and can do this quickly.”

With follow up discussions between the members of the UK delegation and the HSE under way, a future event on digital health collaboration between the UK and Ireland is in its early planning stages for 2022.

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