UHG consultant honoured for his work with NASA and drones

Galway Daily news UHG consultant honoured for work with NASA and drones

Professor Derek O’Keefe, consultant endocrinologist at Galway University Hospitals, has won the inaugural St. Luke’s Medal for his work on the future of medicine.

Prof O’Keeffe was chosen for the award because of his prior Telemedicine work with NASA as a consultant and the recent successful Diabetes Drone mission, which delivered insulin by unmanned aerial vehicle to the Aran Islands and returned with a patient’s blood sample.

He has also done significant public outreach activities around his clinical-academic work including a TEDx Talk ‘Digital Doctors: The Future of Medicine’ and an RTÉ documentary ‘Bittersweet – The Rise of Diabetes’, which documents the lives of patients with diabetes and how technology is improving care.

As well as his work with GUH, Prof O’Keefe is also a Professor of Medical Device Technology at NUI Galway.

He was granted this award by the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland at the annual St. Luke’s Symposium recently.

As part of the St. Luke’s award, Prof O’Keeffe delivered a lecture titled ‘The Future of Medicine is the Patient’ which focused on the following themes:

  • Digital Technology is ubiquitous in society but only recently has been adopted in medicine;
  • Wearable sensors coupled with the Internet of Things offer unprecedented health data gathering potential;
  • This big data coupled with artificial intelligence algorithms has the potential to have as powerful an impact on human health as antibiotics, vaccines and understanding hygiene;
  • Technology fundamentally empowers the patient who is at the digital heart of this new paradigm in medical care; and
  • Examples from Prof O’Keeffe’s own research showing what this new future looks like.