Irish disruptive technology part of global healthcare solution

Guest Blog, Magazine, Thought Leadership | Wed 26 Oct | Author – Business & Finance
Pictured: HaloCare CEO, Sarah-Jane O’Dwyer

HaloCare CEO, Sarah-Jane O’Dwyer, was invited to Davos by a UN sustainability committee to find out if Irish disruptive technology can be part of global healthcare solution. She says harnessing technology as a force for good has boundless potential for our health and wellbeing. 

Note: This piece was originally published in Business & Finance magazine, vol. 59, no. 3, available to read, with compliments, here.

As pioneers in digital health advancement, we were more than a little proud and excited in HaloCare to be the only Irish company, and one of just four worldwide, invited to take part in the SDG Lab (Sustainable Development Goals) at Davos in Switzerland at the end of May.   

The focus of our gathering was on sharing information around disruptive products and services in sectors linked to the UN’s sustainability goals.  These include affordable housing, energy, public transport, waste management and healthcare.

Technological innovation and the use of AI to help achieve sustainability goals, post-Covid, was a core aspect of the World Economic Forum debate this year. 

The international organisation was looking at how digitalisation and automation can empower humanity, rather than replace humans.  The challenge is how to solve some of the foremost social and economic issues facing us today through innovative technological solutions. 

When it comes to healthcare, the same issues of infrastructure, personnel and finances that hamper service delivery in Ireland, are common globally, particularly in developing nations.   

How can technology make healthcare more sustainable for communities worldwide and is a digital solution ever going to replace a medic, or should it? 

The simple answer is that technology complements medical services delivery by trained professionals, and facilitates both healthcare providers and families, or the community, in managing healthcare more efficiently.  

We are acutely aware that biases can be baked into AI-driven systems by their human creators and we mitigated for this when building “Aura”, HaloCare’s proprietary software to ensure an equal playing field for all. 

Our technology helps address the healthcare needs of ageing populations although, the service can adapt to the care needs of many, including people with a disability, chronic illness, or those convalescing. 

Many digital healthcare solutions support remote services provision. As well as digital empowerment, it’s about reimagining how we provide new models of health and wellbeing that create value, based on prevention and early intervention. 

Ageing In Place 

‘Ageing in place’ is the preferred choice of older people, as is care in the community for those with long term illnesses.   

We facilitate this using discrete smart devices in the home, in conjunction with support from a state-of-the-art 24/7 Care Hub, allowing users to live safely and independently at home.  Discrete sensors make the home safer, and built-in AI algorithms flag outliers from a person’s routine that can indicate when help is required.   

A HaloCare tablet, or HaloPad, houses a suite of content linked to services for the client. The HaloPad gives the client access to their vital health data, appointment schedules and can provide medicine prompts or reminders about hydration and exercise.  The HaloPad can be used for social connection too, through photo sharing, calls and facetime. 

Technological innovation and the use of AI to help achieve sustainability goals, post-Covid, was a core aspect of the World Economic Forum debate this year. 

Essentially, we provide holistic care that meets safety, social, wellness and clinical needs; keeping clients safe and socially connected. 

Our Care Hub team and HaloPad tablet facilitate communication and patient-management, so the personal touch is maintained.  Reassurance for older people, and their families, is provided in the knowledge that any difficulty is flagged by the system, and that help is always close at hand.  

HaloCare technology can connect the acute hospital setting, into the community for remote patient monitoring too. The bespoke element of the service based on the individual needs of the client and the delivery from technology to our 24/7 personalised response is what makes HaloCare unique.  

More Efficient Acute Settings 

Effective patient-centred care in the community for older adults or people who need extra support frees up acute medical settings.  People spend less time in hospital or convalescence, so the acute setting is more efficient.   

GPs aren’t crowded with patients who need simple tests or monitoring.  Hospital beds are occupied only when there is an acute need for care.  Hospital-acquired infection rates are reduced, a serious issue as our Covid experience and MRSA illustrated. 

We optimise clinical staff efficiency and productivity, and can help combat staff shortages, by reducing the footfall burden on clinical settings and preventing the spread of infection. 

Our value-driven model of equitable healthcare ticks all the boxes in terms of efficiency, simplicity, cost, volume and timely roll-out. Embedding remote monitoring by providing care in our communities reduces our carbon footprint and ensures we’re compliant in our commitment to sustainability.   

Sustainable wellbeing means extending access to medical expertise, as widely as possible, efficiently and ensures its affordability. Ensuring people, healthcare professionals included, have access to real time health-related information to hand, when and where it is needed which is also facilitated by digital records and web-access. 

Healthcare tends to be concentrated in major cities, so sustainability and equal access depends on providing integrated real-time information and support to people in rural areas, who cannot normally access doctors or surgeons’ care as readily. 

The stated goal of digital intervention in healthcare is to enable people and communities to thrive and to improve their health and wellbeing, to support existing health services, and to create new meaningful roles and systems. 

Guided by HaloCare’s expert team, which includes senior Clinical Advisors, our technology and services promote dynamic interaction with people in their daily lives. Through the advancements in technology and the creation of innovative solutions like HaloCare, we are able to address some of the most difficult challenges facing us today from equitable access to healthcare to our rapidly aging population. Tech-enabled care can ensure the right care, at the right time, in the right settings meaning at last, we are truly putting the patient at the centre. 

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