Monday, November 28, 2016 - 12:30

On November 22nd over 130 healthcare stakeholders attended CONNECT eHealth in the Glen Royal Hotel, a Maynooth University event organised by the Commercialisation Office, supported by Dr Jamie Saris, an MU medical anthropologist.  

eHealth is a rapidly developing area which attempts to deliver more efficient healthcare through technology.  However, with proliferation of relevant technologies comes the realisation technology may not be the sole solution. At CONNECT eHealth the focus was shifted to how the patient experience can be improved through better interaction with healthcare professionals and the healthcare system.

Event speakers were from:
Dr Graham Love, CEO, Health Research Board
Prof Bernard Mahon, VP Research, Maynooth University
Dr A. Jamie Saris, Dept of Anthropology, Health, Science and Community Research cluster, Maynooth University
Patient Advocacy:        
Vanessa Carter, hcsmSA, ePatient advocate and entrepreneur
Marie Ennis-O’Connor, ePatient advocate
Olive O’Connor, MediStori
Trevor Vaugh, Vitamatics
Medical Profession:     
Dr Joe Murphy M.B. M.I.C.G.P. M.R.C.G.P.
Dr Rónán Collins MD FRCP (Lond) FRCPI
Legal Profession:                           
Paul Lavery, Partner, McCann Fitzgerald Solicitors
Health Care System:             
Greg Price, Quality Improvement Division, HSE
The event was split into three parts: (1) presentations by the speakers (2) a panel discussion and (3) a series of workshops concentrating on different eHealth and ePatient themes.  John Scanlan, MU Commercialisation Director moderated the presentation and panel discussion.

The morning session included presentations from ePatient advocates, who shared their personal journeys through the healthcare ecosystem in Ireland and abroad.  The common theme running through these experiences was the need for patient engagement, where the patient is central, informed and is part of the decision making process. The ePatient is empowered and engaged through having access and ownership of personal data and being able to share this data with other health care professionals.

Dr Graham Love discussed how the HRB is working toward integrating public and patient involvement (PPI) and the identification and development of the infrastructure and services needed to ensure safe Data Access, Sharing, Storage and Linkage (DASSL).  Down the line, the benefits for Ireland will include better and safer use of existing data. 

Trever Vaugh, a product design professional and co-founder of Vitamatics, presented the point of view of an eHealth start-up company.  Vitamatics markets smart, discrete high technology blood pressure and cardiac event monitor designed from the patients perspective. Trevor spoke about the need to engage the patient or end user from the start of the product development process.

The morning session was following by a 90 minute panel discussion.  The panelists engaged in a robust and frank discussion around what happens on the ground today in the healthcare system and what needs to happen in the future to improve the experience for everyone.  A starting point for how this might happen is data sharing between health professionals, their systems, their patients and the hospitals.


Panelists Right to Left:  Greg Price, HSE; Paul Lavery, McCann Fitzgerald; Dr Joe Murphy; Dr Rónán Collins; Dr Graham Love, HRB; Vanessa Carter hcsmSA ; Olive O'Connor, MediStori; and Marie Ennis-O'Connor.

Dr Jamie Saris wrapped up the presentations summarising the key themes of the event and how starting with the patient might lead to a better healthcare system.

The workshops delivered in the afternoon session included: (1) the ePatient at the heart of sustainable healthcare (2) the Co-design and co-production in healthcare and (3) social entrepreneurship: drive by cause not profit.

CONNECT eHEALTH Programme and Agenda


Photo: delegates at CONNECT eHealth