Huge scope for innovation

‘It has been so impressive how the health sector has responded to the COVID crisis’ says Declan Murphy, CEO of Isaac Care, MyHomecare.ie and Servisource Workforce solutions

24th August, 2021
Huge scope for innovation

What's your name and what position do you hold?

Declan Murphy, CEO of Isaac Care, MyHomecare.ie and Servisource Workforce solutions.

What are your day to day responsibilities?

I lead a team of 140 staff and over 2,500 careworkers in 3 countries who are delivering staffing solutions primarily in health, care and support to both public and private clients.

I enjoy working with the leadership team and consultants throughout the organisation who support clients and service users in a number of sectors and disciplines.

We have a Recruitment team based in Ireland, UK and India placing staff in health and support, administration and finance and facilities management.

The company operates a quality homecare brand called Myhomecare with a presence in every county in Ireland.

Our managed solutions team deliver a wide range of bespoke health services including Education Support to third level students with disabilities. We provide psychiatric services to the HSE and operate stepdown units where patients are cared for while an appropriate transition to home or residential care is arranged.

The most exciting part of my role however is my involvement with the ISAAC care team in developing an integrated remote care management system involving IoT and the latest technology to support people living independently at home.

What is your professional background?

Now part of the leadership team of CPL Resources I am the founder and CEO of Servisource Workforce Solutions Ltd. I am an entrepreneur with 22 years’ experience in the business, the last 12 of which have been in the Healthcare and recruitment sector. I hold my primary degree from University of Limerick and an MBA from Reading University. I completed an MSc. in Business at Trinity College Dublin, I am qualified as a Mediator and trained as an Arbitrator.

I established our recruitment businesses in 2000 and founded our homecare business ‘Myhomecare’ in 2004. I have always been interested in technology and have been investigating how technology could be used to help care for people in their homes since 2014, this has led to the development of ISAAC Care.

I have successfully led a number of HSE and private projects in staffing managed services. I have worked for a number of years in the townships in South Africa and in Haiti building houses in severely disadvantaged areas.

How do you think the healthcare sector is coping with the Covid-19 crisis?

It has been so impressive how the health sector has responded to the COVID crisis. I wanted to pay particular tribute to our frontline workers who without question and at the earliest opportunity made themselves available to treat those falling ill. Supporting them were teams of administrators processing information on millions of people in a safe and secure manner. All this occurred while the system was dealing with the normal day to day running of the health service which while curtailed in some areas had to accept those requiring medical attention.

As the response to COVID now becomes more systematic rather than reactionary we need to look at learnings and apply new thinking to how we deliver health services. I believe that there is a greater role for community care and support and that is why we are developing the remote patient management functionality in the ISAAC platform.

What lasting impact do you see on healthcare delivery?

While I believe that there needs to be a period of reflection, there are some work practices which can be built on and developed.

It is clear that good infection prevention control practice and policy are a strong defence against not just COVID but also other infections such as flu’s, colds and bacterial infections.

The COVID pandemic demonstrated that there is huge scope for innovation and changing the way we deliver care.

Video consultations and potentially triage will become more mainstream as clinicians engage with patients and service users.

We will see more services being delivered in community settings and at home if possible, it is in this context that the ISAAC platform provides family members and clinicians with valuable information relating to loved ones, including their vital signs live on screen allowing them to make decisions on their health and well being in an informed manner. The system will also provide alerts when a fall is detected or an abnormal reading is recorded.

How do you see tech innovation transforming healthcare? What do you think will be the major breakthroughs over the next 5–10 years?

Over the past decade technology has transformed how we deliver care, private investment in health solutions has increased the pace of development and innovation. There is no doubt that COVID 19 has accelerated this again and I only see the pace increasing.

It is welcome that the government has indicated that spending on health at these levels will be maintained and it is encouraging that a framework for engagement between tech companies and the health service is being developed.

The recent malware attack has underlined the need for serious capital investment in IT infrastructure and as part of this the health service should be building in the interoperability necessary to integrate with third party solutions.

Imaging, remote health monitoring, population health management and medication compliance are all areas where technology has a major part to play in easing the burden on the health service while reducing the cost of care.

What do you think are the key challenges are in the digital transformation of the health service?

I believe that the appropriate use of and security of personal data is a key consideration, if a paper file was lost or compromised in the past it may have only impacted one person, a data security breach as we have seen recently can now compromise millions of patient records. People need to trust the system and know that their records are being managed appropriately.

Prioritising need is for me critical in determining where technology can have the greatest impact. The older person demographic is one that is increasing in size and demand. The current generation are more comfortable around technology and are more computer literate than before, this provides vendors and developers with a unique opportunity to develop and implement digital solutions.

Finally, I believe that as the largest buyer of medical solutions in the state, the health service can influence digital transformation like never before by inviting proposals focussed on innovation when procuring goods and services.

What will be the leading trends in healthcare in the coming years and how will patients and providers need to adapt?

Delivering care in the community is now regarded and the safest, most cost effective and convenient method of managing public health. Moving directly into residential care is a blunt instrument when it comes to addressing care and support for older persons particularly those suffering from dementia. Managing health and wellbeing at home needs to be prioritised whether this is in a person’s own home or an independent living unit, there should be several options available prior to considering a residential care facility.

People need to be empowered and motivated to manage personal health and well-being, as part of the ISAAC platform rollout we have seen greater engagement when service users are provided with live data in terms of steps, blood pressure and weight. The pandemic has demonstrated that we can react and adapt quickly to a crisis. We shouldn’t wait for the next crisis to begin implementing some of the innovation we are seeing today.

Declan will be speaking at the SmartHealth Summit on September 14 2021. See www.smarthealthsummit.ie for more details

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