It is no secret that when it comes to healthcare, Ireland is lagging behind its counter parts in the EU in terms of both technology and the implementation of medical advancements. That’s why, at last week’s Data Summit Dublin, CEO and Co -Founder of Real World Analytics, Conall Lavery made an appeal to the HSE represented on the day by Fran Thompson.
"As a nation, we are hungry for data, the more data we have the better job we can do" Conall Lavery explained. To see what he’s talking about we can simply look to our neighbours in the UK; the NHS in the UK publish payment data in its entirety about how each pharmacy and has performed each month. Here in Ireland, we have no such thing; instead we have out of date, summarised data which is hindering the development of the Irish Healthcare industry. This is why Conall Lavery appealed to the HSE last Friday to publish timely and complete data on the Irish healthcare system. He explained that the NHS data has enabled people to see trends, aid research, and understand dispensing and prescribing habits. Furthermore, advancements such as these would save the HSE both time and money, so why hasn’t this happened yet?
An overnight stay in hospital is estimated to cost the HSE between €800 and €900 per bed per night. Yet, there are minimal preventative measures in place, making healthcare in Ireland reactive, instead of proactive. In Ireland, there are over 1,800 community pharmacies with the typical patient visiting a community pharmacy 19 times a year. Pharmacists are the first port of call within the healthcare system. Yet, pharmacies and pharmacists themselves are hugely undervalued and under exploited as part of a solution of healthcare in Ireland. Enabling pharmacies to provide more services would keep more people out of hospital and thus saving the HSE vital funds each year.
A small step towards improvement occurred last year when a pilot pharmacy-based Minor Ailment Scheme ran for three months in 19 pharmacies; however, nothing further has been done about this. It is delays in schemes like this that cost the HSE millions each year.
Furthermore, The HSE are working on introducing Individual Health Identifier's (IHI) for each person in Ireland. These records would be accessible to healthcare professionals allowing for more informed decisions from pharmacists, doctors and other healthcare professionals. This move is hugely supported by the industry as it would enable faster and more efficient healthcare.
The future of healthcare will no doubt flourish in Ireland with data being one of the main drivers. It is time for the Irish healthcare industry to step into the data driven era and reap in its benefits.
The Data Summit Dublin was a Government initiative with its main aim being to raise awareness of data for Irish private and public sectors. There were keynote speakers, panels and workshops to enable individuals from different sectors to learn how they could use data. You can read more about the Data Summit Dublin here