eHealth in  Revolution Conference, Dublin Castle 15th-17th September

A major conference bringing together renowned speakers in healthcare and technology was held in Dublin Castle from the 15th-17th September. The conference was organised by the The Menarini Foundation and The Heartbeat Trust, a national charity that supports specialist clinical and research services in Heart Failure & Heart Failure Prevention and promotes efficiency in Irish healthcare especially around heart failure.

The eHealth in Revolution conference was officially opened by Minister for Health Simon Harris TD and over 250 local and international delegates attended this three-day event.

Speaking at the opening, Minister Harris said: “I want to recognise the importance of eHealth in delivery of patient care.  It has the potential to place the patient at the heart of our health system, and that’s something I’m very keen to see.  In particular, it can allow health professionals to provide care in the most appropriate setting.  New technologies are allowing for different approaches to the treatment of patients, offering alternative models of integrated care that can contribute to better outcomes for patients.  Modern technology and eHealth provides opportunities and facilities that enable patients to truly participate in and contribute to the management of their own health.”

Prof Ken McDonald, Consultant Cardiologist and Medical Director of The Heartbeat Trust, said: “This meeting presents an excellent opportunity to hear the latest information on many of the critical aspects of eHealth, along with insights into home-grown applications of this form of healthcare delivery.  IT has the capacity to revolutionise healthcare delivery in Ireland.  It is unfathomable why we haven’t made more progress with implementing technologies in healthcare but this conference offers a reflection point and an opportunity to spark a rising for eHealth.”

Dr Ambrose McLoughlin, Chairman of the Heartbeat Trust and former Secretary General of the Department of Health addressed the conference as part of a panel on connected care.  “eHealth properly utilised  empowers patients, carers, the medical and associated professions, to work together to secure the very best outcomes for patients,” Dr McLoughlin has said.  “eHealth also supports the implementation of cost-effective evidence-based best practice and enhances the clinical management of chronic disease such as heart failure.”

Dr McLoughlin also added that the Heartbeat Trust has been at the forefront of development of structured care programmes for the prevention and management of heart failure, including a “virtual consultation” service to enable specialists and GPs to discuss cases and reduce the need for outpatient department referral by 80%.

The conference was addressed by many global experts and advisors. Dr Alan Maisel, Professor of Medicine at the University of California gave the closing lecture on the future of eHealth and the role biomarkers can play in future health prediction through the use of the latest technologies.  Professor Josip Car of Imperial College London and who has worked with the World Health Organisation also addressed the conference on the potential of eHealth.  He believes healthcare is seriously lagging behind other sectors in terms of its use of information and communication technologies.  His team are developing a technology to allow women who suffer depression post-pregnancy to be identified and treated.

The conference was also addressed by Richard Corbridge, Chief Information Officer of the Health Service Executive, Dr Nikolas Mastellos, Global eHealth Unit, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, Siobhan O’Connor of the University of Manchester, Paul Grundy, Global Director of Healthcare Transformation at IBM, Karl O’Leary of Microsoft and Dr Eugenio Capasso of Menarini Foundation.

The Heartbeat Trust are delighted with the success of eHealth in Revolution and look forward to the future and advancement of eHealth in Digital Health in Ireland and abroad.