Health Innovation Hub Ireland launches at NUI Galway
Connecting Innovation and Healthcare in the West of Ireland
Galway, Monday, September 16: Today, Minister of Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD and Minister of State with special responsibility for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly TD, came to NUI Galway’s Lambe Institute for Translational Research based at Galway University Hospital to officially open the third national Health Innovation Hub Ireland (HIHI). Both the President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh and CEO of Saolta University Healthcare Group, Tony Canavan, welcomed the arrival of the HIHI in the West.
First launched by Minister for Health Simon Harris TD at its headquarters at University College Cork in 2016, Health Innovation Hub Ireland is assisting in the establishment of Ireland as a leading location for start-ups and expanding healthcare companies. HIHI allows easy interaction with hospitals and primary care centres. Collaboration between the health service and enterprise is leading to the development of new Irish healthcare technologies, products, and services.
The continued growth of the Health Innovation Hub Ireland and expansion into the west, marks a continued pattern of growth for the HIHI nationally. This expansion follows the October 2018 launch of the second office based at Trinity College Dublin on the St. James Hospital Campus.
Nationally, Health Innovation Hub Ireland plays a unique role within the Irish healthcare ecosystem working at both ends of the innovation pathway- at the very earliest stage from ideation through to concept development and at the later stage of proof of concept in a clinical environment.
In Galway, HIHI works closely with other Enterprise Ireland programmes including BioInnovate Ireland and BioExel and leverages the medtech expertise within NUI Galway including the Translational Medical Device Lab, led by Professor Martin O’Halloran, CÚRAM, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Medical Devices at NUI Galway and the HRB Clinical Research Facility led by the HIHI PrincipaI Investigator, Professor Martin O’Donnell.
HIHI Galway is at the cutting edge of excellence in healthcare, clinical and engineering research with easy access to experts and the next generation of innovators. Companies based in the West such as Ostoform and Feeltect are just a few of the companies benefiting from the HIHI’s unique ecosystem.
HIHI – a national central hub to the health and innovation ecosystem
HIHI was established by Department of Business, Enterprise, Innovation, and the Department of Health, supported by Enterprise Ireland (EI) and the Health Service Executive (HSE). As a unique joint government initiative, HIHI offers companies the opportunity for pilot and clinical validation studies and provides the health service with access to innovative products, services, devices. HIHI works to impact Irish business and Irish healthcare in three key areas.
- Industry: HIHI matches companies with relevant clinical teams, overseeing a study of each product in an Irish clinical setting.
- Healthcare: HIHI is an open door to all healthcare staff to assess ideas to solutions they have encountered in their work. HIHI acts as mentors and advises on taking an idea and developing it into a service or product.
- 3. Education: Delivering a series of five HIHI workshops and a diploma in healthcare innovation, HIHI is embedding an innovation culture in Irish healthcare.
To date, HIHI has engaged with more than 256 companies and 160 healthcare employees to discuss their innovative ideas. HIHI issues an annual call but also welcomes direct engagement through any of its offices in Cork, Dublin and now Galway.
Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen, TD Speaking in advance of the launch Minister Breen said: “As Minister for State in the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, I very much welcome the launch of the third national HIHI here in NUI, Galway. HIHI is a wonderful means of facilitating collaboration between the all the various players involved in the health, enterprise and research sectors for the ultimate benefit of Ireland’s citizens. Galway, in particular, is a city that has both a thriving academic centre and a rapidly expanding MedTech sector. I wish HIHI well in its endeavours and look forward to seeing the benefits of its work in the future.”
Minister of State with special responsibility for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly TD,
“I am delighted to see the expansion of Health Innovation Hub Ireland here in Galway building on the Hubs in Dublin and Cork. This ground-breaking initiative between the Dept of Business, Enterprise & Innovation and the Dept of Health is supporting companies access healthcare experts and bringing new technologies to market as well as improving patient outcomes. Enterprise Ireland is supporting a vision of innovation in healthcare and supporting companies and innovators in healthcare to reach their potential.”
CEO of Saolta University Healthcare Group, Tony Canavan,
Commenting Tony Canavan, CEO Saolta University Health Care Group added, “The HIHI facilitates a unique partnership between the health service and the enterprise sector to enable healthcare research and innovation will over time improve outcomes for patients. Critically, it gives staff working on the front line of the health service an opportunity to bring their ideas and proposals to the Hub that will ultimately improve outcomes for our patients. We are delighted that the Saolta Group and in particular University Hospital Galway is part of this initiative and I would encourage staff to share their knowledge and make proposals.”
Speaking about the growth of the Health Innovation Hub Ireland: HIHI Principal Investigator, Professor John Higgins, said:
“The opening of the Health Innovation Hub in Galway is another key step in making HIHI a truly national organisation following the extension from Cork to Dublin and now Galway. It is a prelude to the HIHI extending to the rest of Ireland. Throughout the healthcare system, if you have an idea or burning desire to bring about change, a solution or a wish to bring innovation in, the HIHI opens that door. The national presence of the HIHI is a testimony to industry and healthcare working together.”
Prof Martin O’Donnell – Professor of Translational Medicine NUI Galway and HIHI Principal Investigator, Galway
“Based at NUI Galway we have multi-disciplinary award-winning teams in healthcare, clinical and engineering research at the Lambe Institute for Translational Research. Health Innovation Hub Ireland combines expertise from NUI Galway and the HSE to deliver projects in healthcare and industry. With a strategic location, embedded in the heart of the hospital, research and teaching, the Hub is a welcome resource to clinicians, researchers and companies.”
Health Innovation Hub Ireland (HIHI) works across the health sector with Irish businesses to creatively solve problems and improve patient care. Harnessing this innovation, through development of new healthcare technologies, products, and services, will help to create Irish jobs and exports. Operationally HIHI is a partnership of clinical and academic centres from across the country. HIHI works directly with three hospital groups (South/South West, Dublin Midlands and Saolta in the West/North West), but the HIHI network can also access all acute and community hospitals, pharmacies, primary care centres and healthcare centres. Academic partners are UCC and CIT, TCD and NUI Galway respectively. HIHI operates an open-door policy, across its national network, to both industry and healthcare.
The HIHI national team includes HSE assigned staff from pharmacy to clinical research nurses and biomedical engineers. Team members with both academic and corporate backgrounds further strengthen this mix. The Government group tasked with overseeing HIHI – National Oversight Group, chaired by Dave Shanahan includes the Department of Health, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Enterprise Ireland, e health Ireland, HSE, IDA, the Health Research Board and Science Foundation Ireland.
About NUI Galway
NUI Galway* is one of Ireland’s foremost centres of academic excellence. Over 18,000 students undertake an extensive range of studies at the University, which is renowned for the quality of its graduates.
NUI Galway is a research-led University with internationally recognised expertise in areas including Biomedical Science and Engineering, Web Science, Human Rights, Marine Science, Energy and Environmental Science, Applied Social Sciences and Public Policy, and Humanities, in particular literature, theatre and Irish Studies.
For more information visit www.nuigalway.ie
HIHI Company Case studies : The ecosystem in action
Ostoform, the creator of a breakthrough surgical seal system for patients with colostomy bags. Ostoform was set up to address the management of a stoma, a small surgical opening on the surface of the abdomen to divert the flow of waste. A common complaint is irritation, redness and discomfort around the skin caused by leaks of the acidic content contacting the skin.
With Health Innovation Hub Ireland, Ostoform is conducting an observational study across our HIHI sites in Galway and Dublin. In Galway, Mary Quigley, Clinical Nurse Specialist Manager, Colorectal/Stoma Care, gathers feedback from patients with stomas. The outcome of this independent study potentially allows the company to access to the HSE Primary Care Reimbursement Scheme (PCRS) to have this device available to patients in Ireland.
Ostoform have secured €1.1million last year from backers including Enterprise Ireland and HBAN – Halo Business Angels Network.
Galway-based wound care company, FeelTect, have developed Tight Alright, a pressure sensing, connected-health device for measuring and monitoring sub-bandage pressure during compression therapy, primarily for the millions of people worldwide with venous leg ulcers (VLUs). Compression is a proven therapy for VLUs, however if it’s applied too loose, it’s ineffective, and if it’s too tight, it’s dangerous. Yet studies have shown that it can be extremely difficult for experienced healthcare professionals to achieve a targeted pressure with existing products. As such, Tight Alright aims to improve the application and maintenance of evidence-based therapy, ensuring safety while reducing healing times.
Founder and CEO, Dr Andrew Cameron, engaged HIHI Galway to conduct a user feedback and validation study ‘ we needed access to end users to demonstrate proof of concept, these studies are essential in developing Tight Alright as a truly wearable product, our aim is to make it the first device capable of continuously monitoring compression therapy outside the clinical setting.”
Derek O’Keeffe, Professor of Medical Device Technology at NUI Galway and a Consultant Physician at University Hospital Galway
Prof. O’ Keeffe and his team have identified a novel and innovative solution to determine if a nasogastric (NG) tube has been correctly placed in a patient’s stomach. HIHI facilitated collaboration with a technical team of engineers based in NUI Galway’s Translational Medical Device (TMD) Lab to develop the solution. Derek and the technical team have delivered a prototype. They are working with the Technology Transfer Office and NUI Galway to potentially patent a device.