What's your name and what position do you hold?
David Wall, Director of ICT, Tallaght University Hospital
What are your day to day responsibilities?
Leading the digital and information transformation and supporting the use of digital health services. Ensuring benefits are realised from investment while supporting our workforce with the capabilities required to use digital and drive innovation. Joining clinical care intelligence, information and digital health services to provide support to our care delivery services and enable us to deliver outstanding care and treatment. My directorate is responsible for eHealth, Information Governance, Telephony and Healthcare Records.
What is your professional background?
I have a BA(Hons) in Business Information Management from the University of South Wales, an MSc in Health Services Management from TCD and a Diploma in Strategy, Innovation and Change from the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. I’m also a certified Data Protection Practitioner and I am a guest lecturer on e-Health in the RCSI and in change management in the Smurfit Business School. I am an Executive Committee member of the Health Informatics Society of Ireland, Chair and co-founder of the HISI ICT Leaders Forum and a Fellow of the Irish Computer Society.
How do you think the healthcare sector is coping with the Covid-19 crisis?
Irish healthcare and in particular healthcare staff have reacted exceptionally with the Covid 19 pandemic. All staff in the health service have gone above and beyond for the last 8 months demonstrating compassion, resilience and dedication.
What lasting impact do you see on healthcare delivery?
Covid 19 has changed how healthcare will deliver services now and in the future. As a society we need to pivot and evolve far quicker than previously considered, processes need to be engineered, new innovations and technologies embraced and investment in people as well as technology.
How do you see tech innovation transforming healthcare? What do you think will be the major breakthroughs over the next 5–10 years?
Three technologies that can have real impact, release staff and assist with decision making are:
Robotic Process Automation. Tasks performed by staff can be automated, release those staff to other duties, improve service and turnaround times. Example Passport application process now uses RPA.
Artificial Intelligence or Assisted Intelligence as we refer to it in TUH. TUH has just completed an AI proof-of-concept in assisting with stroke thrombectomy. Such was the success, TUH will continue using the AI solution and is actively exploring other AI opportunities.
Robotics – using automated guided vehicles to deliver laboratory samples, laundry etc is well established in logistics, the hotel industry and in healthcare in the US and Asia. Pharmacy automation using robotic dispensing is another area TUH is exploring as well as considering how patient-friendly robots can assist and interface with patients, particularly the elderly.
What do you think are the key challenges are in the digital transformation of the health service?
Investment to provide the digital solutions required, investment in eHealth staff to retain existing staff and attract new staff. The health service also needs to deliver transformation projects in a more agile fashion and at greater speed. Digital skills for all staff working in the health service also need support and investment. Lastly, clinical and nursing staff need support to participate in digital transformation, there no such thing as an ICT project, it’s a clinical transformation project.
What will be the leading trends in healthcare in the coming years and how will patients and providers need to adapt?
Online services and access to their information, enabling patients to interact with their healthcare provider online. Patients have already adapted to and adopted digital transformation. We see this in retail, hotel, travel and many other government services areas (passport, revenue, driving license application). It’s the patient who is demanding that the health service catches up! The patient doesn’t need to adapt, the health service needs to evolve and quickly.
David Wall is speaking at the Business Post’s inaugural Smart Health Summit on Oct 22nd
visit www.smarthealthsummit.ie for full details.