The new Connected Health Technology Centre was launched this month by Richard Bruton T.D. Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. The €5 million facility is funded by the Dept. of Jobs through Enterprise Ireland and is also supported by IDA Ireland. ARCH is hosted at University College Dublin. Researchers from clinical, technology, policy, engineering and economic fields will collaborate to deliver on the connected health research agenda. University of Limerick and almost all Higher Education Institutes in Ireland with connected health research capabilities will also input to the work of the centre.
At the launch in the Mater Misericordia University Hospital, Dublin, Minister Burton said: "Connected Health is the utilisation of 'connecting' technologies, i.e. communications systems - broadband, wireless, mobile phone, fixed phone lines - and medical devices and treatments for healthcare applications. In addition, technologies relating to sensors, alarm systems, vital sign monitoring devices, health informatics and data management systems are also fundamental to the development of connected health solutions'.
Explaining the need for a connected health approach to delivering clinical services, Michael O'Shea, ARCH Centre Director said 'Every country in the world is facing infinite demand for healthcare services from finite resources, spiralling costs caused by the invention of new drugs, medical equipment and procedures, higher patient expectations and an ageing population (by 2051, close to 40% of the EU's population will be older than 65)."
During the initial research phase, the team at ARCH under the direction of UCD's Prof. Brian Caulfield, UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Population Science, focused on caring for patients with dementia. The ARCH model will now be applied to a broader range of clinical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, as determined by industry and healthcare needs