Ireland Digital Health Post Pandemic Opportunities
Post covid-19 opportunities to digitalize the Irish healthcare system, and ensure that new E.U 2030 targets will be met.
Opportunities to digitalize the Irish healthcare system are growing with the Irish government under increasing pressure to meet the European Union’s target of ensuring that all EU citizens will be able to view and share health records digitally across public and private hospitals, GP services, pharmacies, nursing homes, or any health service by 2030.
In May 2021, the Sláintecare Implementation Strategy and Action Plan 2021—2023 was approved by the Irish government, and it sets out the priorities and actions to abolish the country’s two-tier health system, replacing it instead with a universal health care model such as the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). Sláintecare’s goals are to improve the experience of patients/service users, improve the experience of clinicians, lower healthcare costs, and achieve better healthcare outcomes.
In August 2022, the Irish Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) emphasized that the delivery of an integrated healthcare system such as Sláintecare needs to be underpinned by a robust eHealth program, and HIQA called for a national agency to be set up to ensure this can happen for Irish patients. With nearly one in four Irish citizens on a healthcare waiting list and the Irish government under pressure to reach the EU’s 2030 target of digital records, there is a compelling argument to increase the use of digital health to improve patient experiences, increase system capacity and boost cost-efficiency.
Ireland’s current healthcare structures rely on many paper-based systems, making the use and sharing of patient records difficult, particularly between different health and social care settings. Recognizing the need, the Irish government recently committed 75 million euro to investments in e-health (digitalization of hospital management information systems and e-pharmacy) as part of the National Recovery and Resilience plan.
Irish citizens are becoming increasingly accustomed to accessing digital health products using their smartphones and other connected devices. A recent HIQA survey found that of those surveyed in Ireland, 86% think it’s important that all healthcare professionals involved in their care have access to their digital records, and 90% trust GP’s to keep their information safe and secure. In the early weeks of the pandemic, Telemedicine services and e-prescribing became universal and the uptake in Ireland was greater than the EU average.
With the urgent need to improve patient experiences, increase system capacity and boost cost-efficiency in Ireland, opportunities for U.S. companies exist in Digital health, telemedicine, digitalizing patient records, medical devices and cyber and data security.
For more information on healthcare opportunities in Ireland, please contact Julianne O’Leary at U.S. Commercial Service Ireland via firstname.lastname@example.org