SLIDESHOW: University Hospital Limerick hosts festival on the future of medical technology

Fintan Walsh


Fintan Walsh


A UNIVERSITY Hospital Limerick doctor has said that they hope to create a forum where clinicians can engage in conversations around new technologies in order to improve their daily practice. 

Dr Conor Keogh was speaking at the special FutureMed Fest at UHL—a forum whereby clinicians from the Mid-West and around the country discuss new digital technologies in order to improve the health service. 

Last weekend's event included a long list of expert speakers, while there were a number of workshops on AI, informatics, data science, robotics and other areas. There was also a "hackathon" style event at Engine Limerick, on Cecil Street. 

At this event, problems identified by clinicians were selected and presented to collaborative teams of clinicians, designers and engineers under the guidance of senior mentors, and solutions rapidly developed and prototyped. Solutions were then pitched to the event judges.

The festival was organised by NCHDs Dr Sam Gray, Dr Conor Keogh and Dr Salim Sebaoui. 

Prof Martin Curley, Director of the Digital Academy and Open Innovation with the HSE, opened the festival, said that while digital technology in Ireland's health service should be moving faster, he said UHL's Da Vinci surgical robot was a positive example of emerging technology.

Big data, Prof Curley said, had huge potential to improve outcomes and drive efficiencies.

“We have a coming data avalanche. Data will be an enabler of health service improvement; it will drive advances in medical science; it will enable improved population health and wellbeing; and it will be an enabler of better clinical trials,” Prof Curley said.

Speakers at the festival included Dr Derek Greene, School of Computer Science, UCD; Brian McKeon, Group Director of Informatics, Planning and Performance, UL Hospitals Group; Dr Ronan O’Leary, Adenbrooke’s Hospital and University of Cambridge; Prof Cathal Walsh, HRB Lead Health Decision Science, UL and Prof Declan Lyons, UL Hospitals Group.

Organiser Dr Conor Keogh said: “New technologies are becoming increasingly important to medical practice. While there’s a lot of interest among clinicians regarding these technologies and the potential they offer, there is a relative lack of education and training in these areas. Further, there is a near total lack of venues for facilitating discussion and fostering collaboration between interested clinicians and those with the technical background needed to implement and develop new solutions using these technologies.

"With the FutureMed Festival, we aim to create a forum for updating clinicians on new technologies in medicine and to start conversations around how these technologies can be leveraged to improve our daily practice. We hope that our cross-disciplinary events will provide a forum for clinical and technical staff to meet and start the conversations that will lead to innovative solutions to the problems we face in daily clinical work through the collaborative application of novel technologies.”

Brian McKeon, Group Director of Informatics, Planning and Performance, UL Hospitals Group, said:

"The UL Hospitals Group was delighted to support our NCHD colleagues with the FutureMed Festival.  Both the Chief Clinical Information Officer, Dr Naro Imcha, and I recognise the importance of clinical engagement in driving forward digital health to improve patient care.  Healthcare is on the edge of a digital revolution through robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence, and the energy and enthusiasm demonstrated by our colleagues in organising this event shows us the future is bright in UL Hospitals."