Foreword from Richard Corbridge, HSE CIO

Foreword from Richard Corbridge, HSE CIO

ForewordAccumulation and enhancement of clinical knowledge and timely access to the right information are critical to delivering better patient care. Technology enablement plays a fundamental role in facilitating both. However, unlocking the knowledge and information within a health system takes more than simply having a technology strategy, more than a definition of a digital health system and more than a technology operating model.

In your hands is the key to deliver a truly digitally connected health experience, made real over the next five years, for the whole country.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) is taking the opportunity to reform the way in which healthcare is provided to the whole country. At the centre of this reform is the absolute need to increase the capability and capacity to build knowledge and provide access to information that supports the provision of health care for public, patients and clinicians alike.

The creation of this knowledge and information strategy is grounded in clinical engagement, and places the tenets of knowledge and information before technology itself. Technology provides the foundation and delivery vehicle for the delivery of knowledge and information to support patient care. Technology supports the development of our capability and our capacity to deliver it.

Across the public sector of Ireland, delivery of innovation through access to technology is coming together under the auspices of the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OoGCIO). Principles such as a public sector connected network, standards based definitions and government wide procurement will bring efficiencies at scale that the delivery of healthcare can benefit from.

For us to achieve our objective of delivering high quality knowledge and information to support the delivery of patient care we need components of information and technology to work in harmony. The concept of ‘organum’ is an idea that has existed for centuries. The original idea refers to the multiple harmonies that create a new sound. The term was originally applied to Gregorian chants in the ninth and tenth century when a polyphonic sound was created. The same idea applies to barbershop singing in which four voices can work together to create a fifth voice. What if this strategy, this key, became the ‘organum’ for the delivery of healthcare in Ireland, where the capability of a digital health system is unlocked by technologists, clinicians, project managers, analysts, designers, patients, nurses and the public of Ireland all coming together to create a new voice for healthcare?

What will that new voice sound like? Harmonious and clear - ready to deliver a healthcare system that is integrated, outcome based and transparent. A harmonious voice that is truly able to disrupt the way in which the delivery of care is traditionally considered. The healthcare system will enable a patient not only to be referred to electronically but to also be able to see the content of that referral from their own home. The healthcare professional will be able to safely identify patients regardless of where they receive care and, with a legitimate reason, access that information, reducing the burden on patients and making the system more efficient. 

The delivery of eHealth to Ireland means digital transformation. It means the agile transition to an underlying healthcare model that exploits digital infrastructure that is making Ireland the digital hub for Europe. This evolution will enable commonly shared capabilities and access to information throughout health and removes silos of information that exist today. It will ensure that excellence is shared - not piloted in obscurity, but enabled and encouraged to realise benefits to patients.

eHealth is an important enabler to the sharing and protecting of information. Where sharing is critical to the delivery of patient safety it should be acted upon as standard, however sharing should be controlled by the patient and the healthcare professional that has a legitimate relationship with the patient.

We are focused on delivering technology to support healthcare, grounded in the outcomes it delivers and not deploying technology for its own sake. 

The strategy in your hand describes how the HSE will deliver the outcomes and benefits of eHealth Ireland. It will no longer be acceptable for technology professionals to simply support the business; the delivery of digital health will be the business of the HSE.

Through the delivery of this strategy, Ireland will have a healthcare system that drives forward the health and indeed the wealth of the nation. Ireland will become a country that has succeeded where others have initially struggled. Ireland will have a digitally connected healthcare system, delivered in harmony, for one and all.The team that delivers eHealth Ireland will be proud of their involvement. Dramatically improving the healthcare system through the use of technology will be a core value of the team as a whole. Key to success will be a new level of focus on professionalising each role within the entire team, with the objective of providing interesting and challenging careers in delivering healthcare technology and change, and continuing to develop our people and their skills.Technology delivery is part of improving healthcare in Ireland and providing tools to enable the people of Ireland to access usable information to keep them fit and healthy.

Thanks and kindest regards,


Richard Corbridge, CIO HSE