Solving North America’s biggest healthcare challenges Medtech Medtech insight News

Solving North America’s biggest healthcare challenges

Doreen McKeown, Enterprise Ireland’s senior VP Life Sciences, based in Boston, explains why key international decision makers are coming to Dublin for the North American Healthcare Forum.

Irish medtech companies provide innovative solutions to the healthcare challenges of hospitals and healthcare systems across the world. This month, a delegation of senior executives from the US and Canada is coming to Ireland to learn more.

Visiting key decision makers include representatives from leading North American healthcare groups, such as Adventist Health in Florida, Cleveland Clinic, and Hamilton Health Sciences in Ontario. Between them, they represent 30 million patients.

They will arrive in Ireland for the inaugural North American Healthcare Forum, which takes place on 18th and 19th September, in Dublin’s Aviva Stadium. It’s the first time such a high-powered group has convened outside of North America, a key indicator of the ability of Ireland’s medtech sector to address the world’s most pressing healthcare challenges.

Ireland’s thriving medtech sector solves global healthcare challenges

Ireland already has a strong track record in the field. Waterford-based RelateCare is a healthcare communications consultancy and outsourcing organisation that is fast becoming a global leader in the delivery of patient access and patient engagement solutions.

RelateCare provides technical expertise in healthcare contact centre operations, as well as clinical expertise in the design and implementation of telehealth and clinical programmes.

In 2017, to complement its Irish operations RelateCare opened its first Patient Coordination Centre in Cleveland in the US, offering a range of patient scheduling services, nurse-led clinical support teams, and remote best practice support services. Cleveland was a natural location for its first US patient coordination centre, since the company traces its roots to a joint venture with Cleveland Clinic Innovations.

“Since we first started working in the US in 2009, we have been able to optimise patient access and patient experience for some of the most recognised and successful health systems, while simultaneously lowering costs,” said Conor O’Byrne, CEO of RelateCare.

When working with one of the US’s leading healthcare providers, in the Midwest, RelateCare’s expertise in access to care reduced the rate of abandoned calls by 28%, increased scheduling accuracy to over 98%, and increased physician visits by over 12%

Expanding partnerships between Irish medtech and US healthcare

A partnership between the Visiting Nurses Association Health Group in New Jersey and RelateCare “began with a successful post-discharge call-back program that made our patients feel supported and cared for at a vulnerable time as they managed their health from home,” said Steven Landers, MD, MPH, president and CEO of the VNA Health Group.

Based on the success of that project, the partnership continued to expand. “RelateCare’s telephonic interventions and patient communications have been pivotal in the growth of our patient experience initiatives. We share a vision for what proper home health should look like, and that is invaluable,” he said.

Such bottom line results have been replicated by RelateCare at other health systems across the US, including prestigious names such Lahey Health, Texas Children’s Health, Duke Health  and Stanford Children’s Health.

Award-winning Dublin-based innovator Meditec Medical designs, manufactures and delivers cutting-edge technology in the area of pressure relief mattresses and therapeutic patient support surfaces. It is currently working with Boston Children’s Hospital to manufacture and supply pressure relief mattresses across its entire hospital network, including ongoing technical support.

Kerry-based medtech company Salaso Health Solutions, which provides digital solutions for physical rehabilitation, is partnering with New York’s Northwell Health to provide online care management services to a range of patients, including stroke, multiple sclerosis and COPD patients.

Northwell is New York State’s largest health care provider with 22 hospitals, over 550 outpatient facilities, and nearly 15,000 affiliated physicians. It cares for more than two million people annually.

“We’ve received great feedback from patients, extended family members and care coordinators,” said Souhel Najjar, MD, senior vice president and executive director of Northwell’s Neurology Service Line, and chair and professor of neurology at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell.

Salaso’s software helps remedy the fact that typically just 20% to 30% of patients complete their prescribed exercise programmes, impacting not just outcomes but hospital costs, particularly as health insurers shift from fee for service reimbursement to reimbursement by outcome.

New York-based Northwell is also partnering with Tipperary biotech company Technopath Clinical Diagnostics, a global leader in the development and manufacture of quality control products and informatics solutions that enhance the accuracy of laboratory testing.

Technopath products are used by leading clinical laboratories in over 120 countries. It is regarded as a leader in the in-vitro diagnostic industry, developing a first-of-its-kind consolidated immunochemistry testing product. Consolidation enables clinical laboratories to significantly reduce handling requirements, reclaim storage and minimize waste, leading to a more efficient quality control process and cost savings.

The two healthcare entities have come together as Technopath Northwell Health North America LLC, selling and marketing Technopath’s quality control products and informatics platform across the US, as well as utilising them at Northwell Health Laboratories.

Bringing high-quality Irish products to US healthcare challenges

The collaboration with Technopath marked “an excellent opportunity to bring a high quality product into the US market to help promote cost-effective operations of clinical laboratories,” said James Crawford, MD, PhD, executive director of laboratory services and chair of pathology at Northwell Health, which performs more than 30 million tests and analyzes 200,000 surgical specimens annually from its commercial lab service, hospitals, multiple outpatient facilities and over 40 blood-testing patient service centres.

By partnering with Irish innovators such as these, North American healthcare providers are tapping into one of the world’s leading medtech clusters, with a globalised structure and a highly integrated supply chain.

“What brings the North American Healthcare Summit to Ireland is our highly collaborative medtech ecosystem which includes government funding, academic support and world-class research centres,” said Doreen McKeown, Enterprise Ireland’s senior VP Life Sciences, based in Boston.

Ireland is home to 17 of the world’s top 25 healthcare companies, a vibrant indigenous industry, world class research centres and more than 450 medtech companies employing 30,000 people. For healthcare systems focused on the delivery of value-based care, it’s a first port of call.

“Ireland is an acknowledged global medtech hub,” said McKeown. “Leading US and Canadian healthcare systems see companies supported by Enterprise Ireland [the national export agency] as potential partners for solving healthcare challenges, helping them deliver better care to patients, drive greater efficiencies and reduce costs.”

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