Belfast Telegraph

Connected and Mobile Health will deliver for patients and our economy - Poots

Stormont Executive press release - Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety

That was the message from the Health Minister Edwin Poots as he addressed delegates at the ‘mPowered Industries’ strand of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today.

The Mobile World Congress, the largest annual event in the mobile industry, unites almost 800 of the world’s mobile operators as well as more than 200 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem.

Minister Poots said; “Chronic diseases are one of the biggest challenges facing health systems today. The need to better manage people with these conditions outside of the hospital setting is widely recognised. Mobile technologies play a crucial role in educating and monitoring people within their home environments and offer many solutions to improve chronic disease prevention and management.

“Northern Ireland has a growing ageing population and an associated escalation in chronic conditions is placing ever-increasing pressures on our health and social care resources against a backdrop of increasing financial constraint. This means that we need to find ways to do much more for much less. Investing in mobile technologies presents many opportunities for us.” 

The two-day congress will be attended by the senior executives of some of the world’s top healthcare technology companies, who will discuss the challenges and opportunities regarding healthcare innovation in the coming 10 years and how mobile technologies will play a key role in those developments.

The Minister continued: “Northern Ireland has made significant progress in the past two years in implementing health and social care reform; in recognising and promoting the adoption of e-Health solutions as a key enabler in that reform programme; and in seeking to maximise the economic potential which this agenda presents. However, we are not complacent and a raft of new strategic thinking and development is in progress to map the way ahead.

“Northern Ireland is no stranger to the significant healthcare challenges which prevail across much of the western world today. The transition towards a population with a higher proportion of older people, while a very positive development, nonetheless, requires a change in services and the way services are delivered, and innovative technological solutions clearly have a significant role to play.” 

During the two-day trip to Barcelona, the Minister also held a number of meetings including with companies to promote Northern Ireland as a base for their connected health operations. Meetings were also held with health officials from a number of European Governments. 

Acknowledging the potential for companies to base their connected health and technology operations in NI the Minister continued saying; “Our health care integrated service model is unique within the UK and certainly not common in the wider European context. It means that Northern Ireland is ideally placed to develop new solutions to improve patient and client care and to trial innovative technologies, as it is small enough to be nimble and flexible and at the same time it is big enough to be an effective test-bed. Northern Ireland also has a young highly skilled workforce and excellent infrastructure and communication links which make us an ideal location for any company looking to expand its business.”

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