Report

eHealth Ireland Ecosystem considers Clinical Engagement


Introduction

The second official meeting of the eHealth Ireland Ecosystem was held on Friday 18th September 2015 at the Clyde Court Hotel, Dublin 4. The event was facilitated by the Health Informatics Society of Ireland (HISI) and the European Connected Health Alliance (ECHAlliance).

Project Team

The project team consisted of representatives from the Health Informatics Society of Ireland, The Irish Computer Society, The European Connected Health Alliance, The Health Service Executive and eHealth Ireland.

Promotion

  • Various dedicated emails were sent out to the HISI mailing list, including members, informing them of the Ecosystem event. These emails contained a summary of the topic, agenda and instructions on registration.
  • The Event was included in newsletters sent out by HISI.
  • There were articles created on the topic of ‘Clinical Engagement & Research’ and promoted through all relevant channels.
  • The Ecosystem event was promoted on various social media channels including Twitter (using the hashtag #eHealth4All), Facebook and LinkedIn.

Exhibitors

Companies had the option to bring along mini pop-up exhibition spaces. The following companies exhibited on the day:

Meditech

St John of God Menni Services

Sláinte Healthcare

IPN Communications Ltd

Advance Regulatory Consulting Ltd

Medihow

HealthComms

Yarra Software Ltd

Open Innovation Partners

Health and Social Care Board

Galvanic LtdARCH
Lifebites

LauraLynn Childrens Hospice

TickerFitOpenApp
NSilicoMedical EGui
Irish Pharmacy News LtdDMF Systems
CFRI

Format and Rationale

The format of the event was a round table meeting on the topic of ‘Clinical Engagement and Clinical Research’ which included speaker presentations, panel discussions and meet and debate table discussions. It was agreed this format was best in order to generate opinion and feedback from all delegates regarding the topic. The main objectives of the event were:

  • To build consensus on the link between Clinical Research and Clinical Engagement
  • To compile expert guidelines on improving clinical engagement to support better patient care and economic growth
  • To agree approaches to clinical research to facilitate engagement

It was agreed that round table discussions would be the most beneficial way to generate opinion and feedback from delegates.


Input, Expertise, Opinions & Views

Meet & Debate Table Feedback Topics

Twelve tables of attendees answered one of the following six questions:

  1. How can Clinical Research inform the agenda of driving health reform with technology, ensuring relevant research with immediate impact?
  2. How can we use eHealth to capitalise on natural advantages Ireland has for clinical research?
  3. How can the breadth of eHealth Ireland Ecosystem outputs be leveraged to support the work of the Irish Council of Clinical Information Officers (CCIO) in driving transformation in healthcare?
  4. How does research downstream to clinical translation, through effective Information technology?
  5. How can the validated value of new technology be demonstrated and communicated to drive adoption and commitment among clinicians in all settings?
  6. How can engagement between SME/RPO's and Clinicians be increased to meet the quality and economic agenda?

Analysis of Input & Suggestions

A consolidation of the view of clinicians, researchers, industry representatives, government agencies, HSE and Dept. of Health was compiled to inform the development of policy and practice in support of positive and productive clinical engagement and strategies for management of clinical research.

An appeal was made for a review of funding models for both research and introduction of innovative technologies in the healthcare system. Early involvement of clinicians in the process was advised, alongside ongoing collaboration with the HSE. Cognisance must be taken of the lengthy period of 17 years from research results to implementation of innovations. A research adoption process needs to be considered, with a recognised procedure to move to procurement.

The example set by the many excellent clinical research projects points up the natural advantages Ireland has for this activity, in terms of size, demographics etc., enabling a patient-focused infrastructure which can be further enhanced by the implementation of the Individual Health Identifier and custom registers for research.

A clear recommendation from the meeting came in the form of a call for collaboration between the Ecosystem and the CCIO (Irish Council of Clinical Information Officers) in ensuring the re-focus on patients rather than on the clinical or technological process. Patient interests, safety and positive outcomes must be prioritised by all stakeholders, bridging gaps between primary, acute and other levels of care, including community and home based. Successful initiatives like Healthlink must be built on, and communities of best practice show-cased, encouraged, commended and emulated.

Adoption of technologies already available is essential to justify the investment in further good-practice and innovation, and appropriate messaging can enhance this process, as well as incentives in the areas of time and data efficiency, billing, CPD, research etc. Upskilling of the clinical and administrative workforce in appropriate areas and with cognisance of appropriate professional development requirement must also be provided for.

For effective clinical engagement with the eHealth agenda to take place, certain barriers need to be recognised and acknowledged, from legislative and cultural to financial and educational. Attention to privacy, data management, procurement procedures, clinician ownership of solutions as well as simplifying financial models and providing for professional development will open the way for constructive clinical engagement and research agendas that enhance this and encourage speedy implementation of findings.


Evaluation

The post-event SWOT Analysis identifies the strengths and weaknesses of the event itself along with possible improvements that can be made in the future.

STRENGTHS

Strong topic and programme

Presence of influential speakers

Marketing of the event, popular hashtag

Good attendance

Good engagement from delegates

Suitable location

Positive feedback

Valuable table discussions with high quality, expert contributions

Adequate number of staff

Registration/badge process was straightforward and timely

Strong contribution from the project team

Weaknesses

Many feedback forms were not completed, possibly due to tight time-frame of agenda

The Twitter engagement was not as strong as the previous event

OPPORTUNITIES

To increase range of attendees, especially from the health/hospital sector and patient representatives

Verbally request feedback form completion

Provide Twitter handles of speakers

Announce event hashtag during ‘Welcome speech’ and throughout day

Need to ensure all registered delegates attend, perhaps reminder phone calls a couple of days before the event

THREATS

Location at a suitable venue

The possibility of the Ecosystem event clashing with other events/conferences


Disclaimer

The views expressed by the speakers and delegates are their own, and not those of the HSE.