Home » Future of Healthcare » How digital and personal technology are helping patients

Sinead Hanley

Director of Nursing, the Galway Clinic

Dr John Sheehan

Clinical Director of Radiology, the Hermitage Clinic and Consultant Radiologist, the Blackrock Clinic

One of the most important developments in modern healthcare is the use of digital technology. Hospitals at the cutting edge of Irish healthcare need to ensure their patients benefit from the exciting changes that are taking place.

At its heart, the ongoing technological revolution in healthcare is about streamlining the work of medical practitioners to ensure they spend less time on ancillary tasks, such as record keeping and note taking, and more on delivering person centred care.

Where in the past, these time-consuming practices had to be carried out manually, today digital healthcare technologies ensure that doctors, nurses and consultants have all the information they need about a patient to hand, at every stage throughout their hospital journey.

The availability of these innovative technologies and treatments is enhancing the relationship between doctors and patients by giving clinicians the tools they need to provide the best care. All of this is vital in achieving Blackrock’s Health’s goal of raising standards and improving patient outcomes.

Linking up medical records

Examples of this can be seen across the group, including in Galway Clinic, where the combination of patient monitoring systems linking to the clinic’s electronic medical record system means doctors can securely access patient’s vital signs on their smartphones.

Galway Clinic’s commitment to the adoption of electronic medical records (EMRs) led to it achieving HIMSS Level 6 accreditation in 2017.

In 2019, Galway Clinic’s nursing team created a unique but transferable electronic record and were later awarded the Kate Grainger European Award. The Director of Nursing Ms Sinead Hanley says: “We want our patients to experience a world-class standard of care which has compassion at its heart.”

Similar moves are afoot in Blackrock Clinic, which in 2020 began to participate in the Irish National Orthopaedic Register (INOR) electronic system which monitors elective hip and knee joint replacement procedures and tracks implant performance and patient outcomes, while providing continuous feedback to patients.

We want our patients to experience a world-class standard of care which has compassion at its heart.

Sinead Hanley

Utilising personal technology

A vital part of the group’s ‘Patients First’ approach involves preparing patients for treatment and assisting in every way with the recovery process.

Here too, personal technology is of huge assistance. Hermitage Clinic recently became the first hospital in Ireland to use the mymobility care management system which works with wearable devices such as iWatches or iPhones.

The system tracks patients’ movements and provides guidance in how to perform pre-op and post-op exercises, while also allowing surgeons to stay abreast of their patients’ progress.

Patricia Connerton recently had a hip replacement in Hermitage. She says that mymobility was vital in aiding her recovery, as it provided “a whole programme of exercises and reminders and trackers for me, which helped me to build up my walking again.”

Providing better, faster, cheaper care

According to Dr John Sheehan, Clinical Director of Radiology in Hermitage Clinic and a Consultant Radiologist in Blackrock Clinic, the early adoption of improved technologies involving the Cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) will yield significant benefits, thus allowing for better, faster and cheaper delivery of care to patients.

Thanks to advances, radiologists will be able to benefit from increased precision and reduced inter reader variability, when interpreting complex medical images.

A combined example of the transformation is in the use of cloud-based AI and AR. Dr Sheehan will soon be demonstrating on stage how the new Microsoft HoloLens / ApoQlar technology and Siemens Healthineers “AI Rad Companion” can be used to examine various aspects of the brain in stunning interactive mixed reality 3D.

These transformations in how robotic, digital and personal technology are being implemented are just the beginning. They offer a real prospect of improving patient outcomes and quality of life across the board.

Blackrock Health will officially launch on March 31st. In the coming years, the developments taking place will get exponentially better, faster and cheaper. This will help deliver more personalised care and better outcomes for patients.

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