On Tuesday 5th October, the people of Clare Island had cause for celebration as their project ‘Clare Island Digital Health Living Lab’ won the Remote Connectivity category in the OPS Ireland Future Tech Challenge final.
This project arose from a request from the people of the Clare Island to the WDC to help them make island living more sustainable. The project is a collaboration between the WDC, HSE Digital Transformation, Mayo County Council, NUIG, Cisco and others. It aims to provide an integrated digital health solution to the people of Clare Island and to proactively monitor and intervene for the health of the islanders.
The project now returns to Clare island as plans are afoot for a workshop on the island to engage with the residents of Clare island so they can prioritise their healthcare needs. In other developments, the project has engaged with mobile service providers to improve island connectivity.
“The WDC will contribute funding to this project to ensure it leaves a lasting legacy on Clare Island and to facilitate the deployment of successful health projects in the living lab across the connected hubs network.”Roger Sweetman, Head of Sustainable Enterprise, WDC
Roger Sweetman, Head of Sustainable Enterprise with the WDC, was pleased with the win and said “The project proposes building a living lab for connected health solutions on Clare Island, making Clare Island the healthiest population in the world and creating a new care model for virtual health.” He continued, “The WDC will contribute funding to this project to ensure it leaves a lasting legacy on Clare Island and to facilitate the deployment of successful health projects in the living lab across the connected hubs network.”
For the people of Clare Island, a ‘Living Lab’ would help reduce the number of journeys they would have to embark on to the mainland. It would provide them with an alternative to having to travel to see a doctor by using a digital closed loop system which will see islanders having medical consultations from the home or ‘Health Pod’. GPs will be able to electronically prescribe medications that can be delivered to the island via drone. Drone delivery services have increased in popularity in recent months most notably in Oranmore, county Galway.
The project builds on an initiative from Mayo County Council and the Department of Rural and Community Development to install a health pod at the broadband connection point on Clare Island. It consists of a direct line to the mainland whereby patients can communicate with their doctors, nurses, or therapists through a secure video feed. From a WDC perspective, the proposal is part of a wider effort to create a region of innovation. The project is supported through the Cisco Country Digital Acceleration initiative.
This project, which is the first of its kind in Ireland and possibly globally, hopes to prove the system a success and then create a design pattern for replication to other islands and remote communities.
The Future Tech Challenge (FTC) is a pilot competition based on a collaboration between Ireland’s Public Service and competition sponsors to drive innovation and technology adoption in order to solve pressing public service challenges. It is being coordinated by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in partnership with IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland.
This first pilot challenge will involve focusing engagements with three multinational companies, which will be AWS, Cisco, and IBM. A further iteration will be launched in Spring 2022 which will focus on collaborations with Small and Medium Enterprises.
The maximum level of prize (comprising of services, products or materials from the participating sponsors) awarded to an individual proposal is to the value of no more than €100,000.
You can read more about the project HERE.