Irish Health Minister Simon Harris has launched Health Innovation Hub Ireland (HIHI), Ireland’s first national hub to directly improve treatment and care for patients.
The Minister announced Government funding, through the Department of Health and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland of €5 million for the establishment of Health Innovation Hub Ireland, which is led by University College Cork (UCC).
Health Innovation Hub Ireland, a partnership of clinicians, academics, innovators and entrepreneurs from across Ireland will accelerate healthcare innovation and commercialisation, by addressing healthcare challenges and in doing so will create jobs and exports for the country.
Speaking at the launch Minister Harris TD stated: “I am delighted to launch Health Innovation Hub Ireland today, and to announce a first call for submissions on the focused theme of improving care for older people in the healthcare system. This project will foster a unique partnership between the health service and the enterprise sector, with the aim of improving patient outcomes.
“I look forward to seeing in the coming months and years this collaboration, and the projects that are being supported by the Innovation Hub, making a significant contribution to improvements in patient care, finding efficiencies in service delivery and supporting health service practitioners in bringing innovative ideas to fruition.”
Health Innovation Hub Ireland delivers activities at a national level to all academic institutions, healthcare providers and commercial companies. These activities are delivered by the HIHI Consortium of formal collaborators, which include UCC, Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) and Trinity College Dublin (TCD), their associated Clinical Research Facilities (Cork, Galway, Dublin) and their Hospital Groups (South/South West, Dublin Midlands and Saolta University Healthcare), with associated Primary Care Centres, Community Health Organisations, Pharmacies and HSE support infrastructures.
Welcoming the launch, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD, said: “This exciting initiative allows for mutually beneficial interaction between industry and the health system. This is a win-win scenario. The health service needs products to meet its particular needs, and enterprise needs guidance from users on their developing products, and test-beds for their trials. We have combined exports from our lifesciences and ICT sectors of over €140 billion annually and the strengths of our enterprise base can be leveraged to deliver much needed innovation into our health system and at the same time sustain and create more jobs in these sectors.”
Dr. Colman Casey, Director Health Innovation Hub Ireland said, “Health Innovation Hub Ireland focuses on bringing new and exciting ideas into the healthcare system by both encouraging and exciting employees to believe in their innovative ideas, which in turn, will bring about a cultural change towards innovation within healthcare. We will achieve this through a system of annual calls encouraging both individuals and companies to actively innovate intothe healthcare system and out of the healthcare system”.
HIHI announced the annual call, which focuses on two themes:
- An Open Call – for any idea, process, product, service or technology that could benefit the healthcare system
- A Focused Call – for any idea, process, product, service or technology that addresses care for older persons in the healthcare system
Principal Investigator of HIHI, Professor John R. Higgins, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Head of the College of Medicine at UCC said; “Today marks a milestone in the already successful work of the demonstrator project. We are now a national entity and we have the expertise of our partners; Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) and Trinity College Dublin (TCD). Health Innovation Hub Ireland represents a truly joined-up thinking, leveraging our national healthcare system and industry to jointly develop valuable solutions for health systems globally”.
Health Innovation Hub Ireland wants to hear from people in industry, healthcare professionals, healthcare workers and entrepreneurs who can demonstrate they have unique applied technologies and solutions ready for further commercial development or have an idea or concept that needs further development in Ireland. It will develop next generation technologies in Ireland for the global marketplace and in doing so to create jobs and exports from our communities at home.