Technology in the Irish Healthcare System – the Future or Just a Hope?

Can you picture an Irish healthcare system where technology and innovation enable healthcare delivery to transform? How about a healthcare structure that truly integrates technology to allow for telemedicine to respond to health and social demands in real-time? Perhaps patients’ journeys throughout the healthcare system are updated on touch screens, and waiting times have reduced because patients no longer need to spend as much time in hospital?

This sounds like a pipedream, right?

A utopian, virtual world where technology is able to streamline the healthcare system with an unrecognisable level of efficiency. Not quite so. Many countries around the world are working to integrate technology into the way they manage and treat human disease. Ireland is no different.

 

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Public acceptability

A recent report carried out by Ipsos MRBI and commissioned by MSD, revealed just how open the Irish public are to change.

The report was designed to give the public an opportunity to voice their hopes and expectations for the future of their health service; the results suggest their hopes are centred around digital advances:

  • 74% said the public should have online access to their own health records
  • 80% agreed that it is important for technology to be used wherever possible to make healthcare better
  • 84% expressed the belief that GPs and hospitals should have online access to patient records
  • 84% believe there should be a single digital view of healthcare records throughout the health system

Now that the views of the Irish public are clear, stakeholders are keen to work towards transforming the healthcare system into a technology-driven, and data-embracing organisation.

One caveat in the report, is that the Irish public are not interested in technology for technology’s sake. They want effective, useful technologies, that increase efficiency and free up the healthcare system to tackle other issues.

Technology is the future?

The question, ‘What will Ireland’s health system look like in 2027?’, was posed to a panel of key opinion-leaders from across the healthcare process at the Future Health Summit recently. Ensuring that patient needs remain at the heart of advances will ensure the Irish public stays on board with digitisation.