AI for Good: Building Digital Healthcare Assets for Sustainable Healthcare

Submitted on Wednesday, 19/06/2024

Type 2 diabetes can cause serious harm to the body and often accompanies other forms of chronic disease. Clinicians need to understand a patient’s history to provide timely and efficient care. Improved service planning and understanding of population metrics for chronic disease patients are crucial for policymakers and HSE staff. However, increased patient waiting times, the demographic spread of the population, societal ageing, rising demand for better care, and increased patient volumes are among the many issues that are pressuring all healthcare sectors. In the area of chronic disease care management, fundamental questions underpin clinician’s requirements

‘What is the number of people suffering from diabetes in Ireland?’

‘Where do people with Diabetes live in Ireland?’

Building an integrated data-centric digital asset for the Irish healthcare system to enable a better model of care for patients must address these questions and other wider issues. Research by the RECONNECT team at DCU adopts the globally accepted HL7-FHIR model in the construction of chronic disease digital assets to enable data-driven decision-making that was identified as a key requirement for both clinicians and policymakers.

The research team is led by PIs Professor Mark Roantree (DCU) and Professor Patricia Kearney (UCC) Fionnuala Donohue from National Health Intelligence Unit, with support from Jennifer Pallin (UCC),Vuong Ngo, Geetika Sood and Dongyun Nie (DCU). The de-fragmentation and integration of a number of Chronic Disease information systems ensures that data is in a usable form to identify and understand the needs of the population living with chronic diseases. This will lead to an improved model of care for society, providing faster and better care for patients with a prototype planned to serve as a single centralised platform for clinicians, HSE staff, and policymakers.

The team is currently working on the prototype model and a paper titled ‘Using HL7-FHIR as an Integration Platform for Chronic Disease Services Management and Planning in the Irish Healthcare Sector’ which was accepted for an oral presentation at the Joint Conference of ISEH ICEPH & ISEG.