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Ireland-UK, EIT Health Ireland-UK

HSE Spark Summit Innovation Conference 2023: Celebrating Innovation and Igniting Creativity

22nd June 2023

Last week the EIT Health Ireland-UK team attended the HSE Spark Summit Innovation Programme 2023 held in Dublin. The grand finale of the HSE Spark Ignite Competition, sponsored by EIT Health was also held during the event where six finalists pitched their ideas to a panel of health innovation experts.

The HSE Spark Summit, a one-day conference, is a unique platform that brings together healthcare staff, industry professionals, and academics and seeks to support, promote and recognise innovation amongst healthcare staff within the HSE.

Here are some highlights from the sessions that took place throughout the day, showcasing remarkable initiatives in healthcare innovation and design being carried out across Irish hospitals and beyond:  

Talks on Innovation and Design in Healthcare 

The conference began with a session emphasizing the strategic importance of frontline innovation and empowering healthcare professionals to drive positive change and improve patient outcomes. Caitriona Heffernan, HSE Spark Innovation Lead, spoke about the significance of fostering a culture of innovation at the frontline of healthcare delivery.  

The event featured inspiring presentations from several healthcare institutions that have successfully implemented frontline innovation initiatives. Speakers from Tallaght University Hospital, Children’s Health Ireland, University Hospital Waterford, and Mater Misericordiae University Hospital shared their experiences and outcomes, highlighting real-world examples of innovation in action. 

Attendees had the opportunity to choose from various breakout sessions focusing on innovation and design in healthcare. These sessions included topics such as implementing innovation in learning and development, design thinking for better health by the Health Design Lab Team at Thomas Jefferson University, and a showcase of health-focused projects by the Design on the Frontline Scholars 2023. 

Dr. Bon Ku, Director of Health Design Lab at Thomas Jefferson University, delivered a keynote address on the role of design in healthcare innovation. Dr. Ku shared insights into the power of human-centred design thinking, emphasizing the importance of empathy, collaboration, and creativity in developing leading-edge healthcare solutions. 

During a session on Digital Innovation, Dr. Phillip Crowley, National Director of Strategy at HSE, Gar Mac Críosta, Digital Advisor and Product Manager at HSE, and Richard Egan, Founder of Cushla Health, discussed the latest trends and advancements in digital transformation in healthcare.   

HSE Spark Ignite Finals 

After two days of workshops and one pitching day, six finalists were chosen to compete at the Spark Ignite finals during the afternoon of the Summit. Rehab at your front door, Answers for Cancers, Skin Dose Calculation Software, Smart Pleuro, Polypharm.ai, and Constant Pressure Device presented their pitches to the panel of judges and the audience. The host of the competition was David Pollard, Education Lead, EIT Health Ireland-UK, with Eimear Galvin, Manager at Health Innovation Hub Ireland; Trevor Vaugh, Assistant Professor, Maynooth University; and Jared Gormly, Head of HSE Spark Innovation Programme on the judging panel.  

After six brilliant pitches and a Q&A session with each finalist, the judges chose Siobhan Meany’s ‘Constant Pressure Device’ as the winner of the HSE Spark Ignite Competition.  

Minister Ossian Smyth, Minister of State with responsibility for Public Procurement, eGovernment and Circular Economy awarded the prize. 

Overall, the conference demonstrated the power of frontline innovation and transformative design in healthcare. Our team was inspired by the thought-provoking sessions, real-life case studies shared during presentations, and insightful discussions. If you have a business idea that can help shape the future of healthcare, subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated on upcoming programmes and opportunities. 

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