Belfast Telegraph

Health venture looking to US market

By Margaret Canning

A new 'connected health' venture which has the health of the elderly of North America in its sights has been set up - in Co Fermanagh.

Connected Health, which is the latest business venture of CBI chairman Terence Brannigan, says it can cut the costs of healthcare providers by remotely monitoring the illnesses of elderly people in their own homes.

It is understood Mr Brannigan and his business partners are expecting turnover of £100m over the next few years and are hoping to expand into North America after establishing the business in the UK and Ireland.

One of the partners is John McElwaine, whose McElwaine Group has a health services division in Lisnaskea and is providing the technology for the project.

A spokesman said: "They are planning for fairly rapid growth, both organically and by acquisition."

Connected Health will operate in domiciliary care, telecare, which monitors the elderly at home through remotely- monitored equipment, telehealth, to monitor chronic conditions, and has a 'mind alert' programme which it says could reduce the risks of mental decline.

Qualified medics monitor the equipment used to track serious conditions. The spokesman said: "With Project Kelvin, which provides a high-speed internet link between Northern Ireland and North America, there's no reason why you can't provide telehealth from Fermanagh to North America."

Connected health is an area identified by Invest NI for growth, and Co Fermanagh is the location of the European Centre for Connected Health.

Mr Brannigan said: "There is an increasing focus on how we deliver effective and efficient high-quality healthcare in the community and the home and, by doing so, reduce the need for costly hospital admission.

Against that backdrop, our business model provides a platform capable of rapid expansion in markets both here and overseas which are currently served by a very fragmented base of suppliers."

Mr Brannigan's plans were unveiled at a Fermanagh Economic Development Organisation event at the Lough Erne Resort Hotel, attended by Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster and US Economic Envoy Declan Kelly.

Enterprise Minister Ms Foster said yesterday: "In building a strong and prosperous economy, high-value sectors such as life sciences, and more specifically connected health, offer significant international opportunities."