Stephen Lowry: first man in Ireland to get bionic hand

Stephen Lowry, 51, is now the owner of a revolutionary new bionic prosthetic hand, believed to be the first of its kind in use on the island of Ireland. The Bebionic hand is made by Leeds-based company RSL Steeper and was provided to him by Musgrave Park Hospital’s Regional Disablement Services.

The prosthesis comes with a flesh-coloured skin glove, and works on advanced sensor technology that picks up the electrical impulses generated from the biceps and triceps of the amputee. Read more: BBC News NI

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HP helps Trust lead the way with Datacentre ‘PODS’

The South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust has installed two HP Performance Optimised Data Centres (PODs) at the Ulster Hospital, Belfast to improve its IT services. Delivered in partnership with BT, the ‘PODs’ are the first to be installed in Northern Ireland and will meet the Trusts computer needs for the next seven to ten years.

The HP POD is a cloud solution which provides a single virtual data centre environment for all the Trust’s operations. It will allow the Trust to implement a virtual desktop infrastructure which will enable clinicians to access patient information from any location, using any device. The Trust intends rolling out a ‘Bring Your Own Device’ and mobility strategy across the Trust over the coming months. Read more: Sync NI / DHSSPS Press Release

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The 10th National Health Summit (Dublin)

Ireland’s most important annual healthcare management summit brings together the range of stakeholders in the management and delivery of Ireland’s health service to discuss and debate the ever-changing healthcare environment. In 2014, they will have three separate tracks: Health Insurance, Hospital Management & Digital Healthcare. Read more: Telecare & Telehealth Aware

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e-Health and Care Strategy: Northern Ireland

A public engagement process on a preliminary outline of the e-Health and Care Strategy for Northern Ireland is beginning. The eHealth and Care strategy was initiated by the DHSSPS to provide an overarching strategy covering all aspects of eHealth and Care, drawing together a number of strategic developments in eHealth.  It will enable the delivery of the wider strategic framework for the HSC, including Transforming Your Care.

If you are interested in attending one of the public engagement meetings regarding development of the strategy, they are being held from 20th January 2014. Further details are available on the HSC Board website.

Or if you are a member of the Northern Ireland Connected Health Ecosystem you can register for the NICH Ecosystem engagement workshop on the strategy here.




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Health Hack Belfast 2014

This years Health Hack Belfast will focus on medication management; using technology to addressing obstacles that can prevent patients, carers and professionals from following directions, adhering to and complying with medicines best practice.

For those not already aware of Health Hack, it’s an event for healthcare professionals to get together with developers in an informal and non-commercial environment, to create innovative software that improves healthcare. Read more: Health Hack Belfast 2014

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First Horizon 2020 calls for eHealth projects launched

The European Commission is calling for new projects to be funded under the Horizon 2020 program, worth more than €15 billion over the first two years.

eHealth is well represented in this. Researchers and innovators in ICT for health and care are requested to apply either before 15 April 2014 or 21 April 2015. Call for Proposals: 11/12/2013 to 21/04/2015.

The Horizon 2020 funding includes 12 areas that will be a focus for action in 2014/2015, including topics such as personalised healthcare, digital security and smart cities.

Read more: Health Informatics Society of Ireland

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E-government and older people in Ireland, North and South

This report entitled “E-government and older people in Ireland, North and South” finds that while the numbers of older people with access to and using the internet are increasing, the numbers remain low in comparison to other age groups.

The successful transition to e-government is dependent on citizens having access to the necessary infrastructure (computer and internet connection) and possessing the information and communication technology (ICT) skills to enable them to access public services online as and when they need them. The report focuses on the impact on older citizens of the move to deliver more and more public services online (e-government) on the island of Ireland. Read more: CARDI

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US telemedicine project trials in Ireland

Consultants and GPs in Ireland are to participate in three pilot care delivery projects based on a US telemedicine initiative called Project ECHO. It is estimated that replication of the project in Ireland could deliver an estimated €20 million in healthcare savings.

The way ECHO works is by providing primary care providers such as GPs with training in medical conditions that would otherwise be treatable only by specialists. This is done through a model of ‘guided practice’ and mentoring using video-conferencing technology.

Initially, the pilot will focus on rheumatology conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. It is understood that 20 GPs nationwide will be trained under the pilot.  The aim is to reduce consultant waiting times and allow patients to be diverted from hospital services to be managed in the community.  Heads up thanks to fellow TTA and TANN England Contributing Editor, Chrys Meewella for this! 

Read more: Ireland becomes EU hub for new healthcare project (Irish Medical News) / US telehealth projects for Ireland (Irish Medical Times)

Note: I’ve referred to the ECHO project as ‘telemedicine’ rather than as ‘telehealth’ – which it is referred to as throughout the IMT article. For further information regarding the debate around telecare, telemedicine and telehealth, see TTA’s What is Telecare? section.

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Patients’ records for clinical trials could be shared between NI and New York!


Patients’ records could be shared between Northern Ireland and New York as part of a proposal to improve healthcare and research. Health Minister, Edwin Poots was recently in the US for high-level talks about developing the collaboration with the New York Health Department.

The electronic files could be used to operate clinical trials of treatments on selected groups on both sides of the Atlantic. Northern Ireland has a well-integrated healthcare system, which makes it easier to carry out pilot tests, while New York has a much greater pool of potential patients.

Read more: The Belfast Telegraph

See also: DHSSPS Press Release -Robinson and McGuinness Encourage Innovation in Healthcare at Boston Conference

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NUI Galway trials falls detection system

NUI Galway is actively recruiting participants aged 64 and over to test a wearable sensor and home wireless network to detect falls. The project is part of a €2.25 million EU Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) funded project called FATE - FAll deTector for the Elderly.

The system is made up of a portable fall detector, a bed sensor for night-time monitoring, a central computer (with or without Internet connection), and a mobile phone (which can communicate with the central computer and the fall sensor via Bluetooth). The system also uses an indoors telecommunications network based in Zigbee.

Read more: NUI Galway Press Release

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DecaWave launches first indoor location tracking chip – with 10cm precision!

DecaWave chip makes indoor location and comms accurate to 10cmCiaran Connell, CEO; Jim O’Hara, chairman; and Michael McLaughlin, president and CTO, DecaWave

Dublin-headquartered DecaWave (which we covered before at an earlier stage of the company’s development) has launched the first chip of its ScenSor DW1000 wireless family.

The company said it was the first integrated circuit on the market to electronically identify the specific distance to any object, person or thing with plus or minus 10cm precision.

The chip can complement or replace RFID and Wi-Fi technology for indoor tracking where GPS signals are unavailable.

Read more: Silicon Republic

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Twitter Alerts launched among Emergency Services in Ireland and UK

Twitter has launched a new ‘Twitter Alerts’ system to enable police and emergency services to get critical information to the right people at the right time.

The UK’s 47 police forces and An Garda Síochána have signed up for the service which allows them to highlight critical information to their Twitter followers by marking Tweets as alerts (Tweets will then be highlighted with an orange bell symbol for added visibility). Also, Twitter users who sign up for an account’s Twitter Alerts can receive a notification directly to their phone via SMS.

Read more: Silicon Republic

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European Innovative Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing

The recent DHSSPS Press Release on 2nd European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing Conference can be accessed here.

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Are you someone who uses Remote Telemonitoring services?

The Patient and Client Council  would like to understand the experiences of people who have or are currently using the Telemonitoring NI service and would be very interested to get your feedback.  If you receive this service, have received it in the past, or know of someone who has, they would like to hear your views.  This is an independent study and feedback will be treated confidentially (therefore your details will not be passed on to the providers of the service).  If interested, please contact Deepak Samson or Dr. Avril Craig on 0800 917 0222 or 028 90 321230 or email: email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Read more: Patient & Client Council website

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Belfast-based start-up Sensum gets £600k for device that can read minds

A company which employs skin sensor technology to monitor the impact of marketing and advertising has just received investment topping £600,000.

Neuromarketing pioneer Sensum has secured early-stage funding to help advertisers gauge the effectiveness of their campaigns through new-age technological advances.

Read more: Belfast Telegraph 

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