We are now part of Blackrock Health, Ireland’s newest private hospital group. Click here to learn more

CEO Blog

Blackrock Clinic CEO Blog Forecasting the nation’s health – Collaborative Healthcare

Forecasting the nation’s health – Collaborative Healthcare

13th May 2022

The trajectory of novel technologies set to impact on the health industry is forecast, yet subject to ‘disruption’. As a Hi-Tech hospital Blackrock Clinic follows its course through our mission to innovate, deliver, and ultimately stand by the quality of our service.

We must remain open to technologies as they emerge, develop, become mature, along with those currently creating waves in the provision of healthcare.

‘Digital Health Garter Hype Cycle 2021.’ Price, L. (2021)

Infographics such as the ‘Digital Health Garter Hype Cycle’ (pictured) demonstrate the perceived evolution of tech innovation.

Disruption

Disruption can occur at any stage, driven by factors such as tech-breakthrough, changes in patient demographics, and recently, a pandemic.

What is emerging in healthcare today is a divergence of modalities, with novel-tech capabilities revolutionising the care pathways inside the hospital, whilst personal technology makes the home a viable environment for remote, or technology enabled care (TEC).

Managed with diligence, this ought to offer the flexibility we need to service a growing and ageing patient population.

Hospital – Novel tech

Novel technology using Artificial Intelligence (AI) with machine learning, and Augmented & Mixed Realities (AR) & (MR), are gathering pace within Hi-Tech hospital environments. Blackrock Clinic is already using:

  • A growing array of novel technology and tools in the cardiology Cath Lab

A recent first for Ireland is Adagio Healthcare’s iCLAS ablation system

  • Surgical Robots
Da Vinci Xi Surgical Robot

Currently home to two robots, our Da Vinci Xi is in use across many areas of specialty including weight loss and heart bypass surgery, with the Mako leading in orthopaedic joint replacement.  

  • Real time and AR imaging (ultrasound and CT)

The Mako orthopaedic robot system uses AR scanning to begin the patient journey, giving the surgeon unique views of patient anatomy for customised surgical assessment and planning.

  • Robotic Process Automation

Through robotic process automation (automated data capture) such as the INOR, the knowledge base of surgical teams can be shared to accelerate learning on a national and global scale.

Technology Enabled Care (TEC)

Wearable Medical Devices

Opportunities for viable investment within the wearable medical device niche have attracted the giants: Google, Apple, IBM, Amazon and Meta. They are all working to win over user perception and gain the market lead, whilst their inclusion of healthcare professionals during design stages makes their products increasingly industry acceptable.

Our personal array of health wearables today includes:

  • Data collecting monitors for sports & fitness, sleep, vital signs, heart-rate etc.
  • Medical devices for the remote treatment of chronic diseases such as diabetes.

If the advancement of personalised healthcare was ever hampered by cost constraints, cumbersome hardware, or lack of consumer confidence, then these obstacles have gone.

True Value

The true value of these devices is in their smart capacity to link patients to their clinical teams, with uploaded data captured through bespoke Apps. This collaboration is facilitating new patient care pathways, with some worthy results. 

A 2015 trial¹ carried out in London saw a set of COPD patients treated by remote monitoring, and concluded the following:

  • 50% drop in hospital admissions
  • 12% drop in A&E attendances
  • 63% drop in hospital bed stays
  • 16-20% cost saving for patients with a previous hospital admission.

TEC pathways include:

  • Telecare: personal alarms etc.
  • Telehealth: computers, mobile devices etc. used to communicate / access / manage digital information and health care services remotely.
  • Telemedicine: Virtual consultations via video, smartphone etc.
  • mHealth: mobile health such as patient monitoring devices used for disease surveillance, treatment support, epidemic outbreak tracking (think the Covid Tracker app) and chronic disease management.
  • eHealth services: patient record systems sharing data and information through, or enhanced by the Internet and related technologies (think Healthmail and Healthlink).

Implications

TEC Implications for healthcare providers such as hospitals and GP practices are encouraging as less demand is placed on clinical resources. The move of healthcare spend beyond the hospital also impacts on third party industries such as Private Medical Insurance. Companies are responding with their own TEC contact points: ‘Digital Doctor’ from Irish Life Health; ‘GPLive’ from Laya, and ‘Online Doctor’ from VHI.

Novel technologies in healthcare are natural partners for surgeons and clinical teams who must make life changing decisions formed on the evidence of real time information.

And the whole point as summarised by Mr Niall Hogan, Orthopaedic Surgeon at Blackrock Clinic, is that we are witnessing a new era, where ‘patients will benefit from technological advances.’

  1. Taylor, K., n.d. Using medical health apps to support people to improve the management of COPD. [online] Www2.deloitte.com. Available at: <https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/uk/Documents/life-sciences-health-care/deloitte-uk-connected-health.pdf> [Accessed 15 March 2022].