Electronic scripts among products being developed in innovation hub

Sat, Oct 20, 2012, 01:00

AN ELECTRONIC prescription service that allows GPs to send prescriptions directly to pharmacies is one of range of products being developed as part of a new initiative linking healthcare companies with the health service.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton and Minister for Health James Reilly were at University College Cork (UCC) yesterday for the launch of the Health Innovation Hub project.

The aim of the UCC-based initiative is to assist healthcare companies by giving them access to the hospital system where they can test products in a “real-life environment”.

The project also provides a forum where those working in the health service can communicate with healthcare companies with a view to developing new products.

The six companies currently taking part in the project are Abtran, Arann, Helix Health, Radissens, Rigney Dolphin and Sláinte.

It is hoped that the initiative will lead to job creation in the healthcare sector.

Speaking yesterday Mr Bruton described the project as a “win-win” for enterprise and health.

“Through the Healthcare Innovation Hub the Government is supporting innovative Irish companies seeking to develop products.”

“The hub will facilitate these companies in gaining access to the health service to trial and test their products and services – and in this way allow them to bring them to market and ultimately create jobs more quickly,” he said.

“This is an excellent example of the Government co-operating across departments and agencies that have not traditionally had a jobs focus, and stepping in to provide support in new and innovative way to the companies who will create the jobs of the future,” he said.

Mr Reilly said he believed the collaboration between the health service and industry could lead to innovative ideas, which would result in savings and improved patient care.

Abtran, which employs over 1,000 people nationwide, is working on a GP referral system, while Arann is working with Cork University Hospital (CUH) to develop a mattress sterilisation product.

Helix Health is involved in creating an electronic prescription service, which will allow prescriptions to be sent automatically from GPs to pharmacies.

Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, the HSE, Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and UCC are involved in the initiative.