Using medtech to manage chronic conditions on island communities

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Galway Daily news Using medtech to manage chronic conditions on island communities

A new research project from University of Galway is using state of the medical technology to improve disease management in island communities.

Modern medicine has meant that people are living longer and correspondingly there has been an increase in chronic diseases such as diabetes, or hypertension.

This also means that new approaches are needed to deliver this care efficiently and effectively, as was evidenced during Covid public health restrictions, which seriously affected people’s ability to readily go to their doctor.

The Home Health project combines video consultations with remote physiological monitoring, including blood pressure, weight, blood sugar, to deliver more useful virtual care.

It uses remote sensors and artificial intelligence software as part of a suite of interventions to deliver next generation chronic disease management in the community.

The project, led by the Health Innovation Via Engineering (HIVE) Laboratory at Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, aims to improve healthcare of chronic conditions for 165 residents on Clare Island.

Dr Noreen Curtis, GP on Clare Island, said, “I am very excited with the Home Health project and anticipate that improving virtual care will augment the current services and improve overall care for the patients here.”

To overcome the digital divide, a central part of the project is the development of a new, private 5G network on the island to enable monitoring of data, which will be handled by Cisco Ireland.

Project Principal Investigator and CÚRAM-Funded Investigator Professor Derek O’Keeffe said, “Digital health is the future of medicine and data empowers the patient and allows them and their clinicians to make better medical decisions.”

This €1 million project is co-funded by Cisco Ireland and the CÚRAM medical devices research centre.

As well as CÚRAM and Cisco, the project has multiple stakeholders including the island community, HSE and the Western Development Commission.