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A new digital health project, launched today, will offer digital entrepreneurs the chance to  secure €15,000 in funding, as well as free office space and enterprise development supports. The project, called Connected Health, is a joint initiative between the Digital Hub Development Agency (DHDA) and St James’s Hospital, Dublin.

Connected Health is aimed at supporting digital technology companies to develop solutions to common healthcare challenges.  

The first call for proposals from Connected Health will focus on local asset mapping.  Digital enterprises have until February 15 2013 to submit applications outlining how they would develop a website and mobile app using local data to document all health-related services in the vicinity of St James’s Hospital.  One successful applicant will be selected to receive the €15,000 seed funding and package of supports.  Applications will be assessed in late February, with the successful applicant expected to commence work on the local asset mapping project at the beginning of March. 

Dr  Stephen Brennan, Chief Strategy Officer with the DHDA, said that over the past year, “The Digital Hub has been working closely with clinicians at St James’s Hospital, who have identified healthcare challenges that could potentially be resolved through the development of new digital solutions.” 

Successful companies will receive seed funding and free office space at The Digital Hub and they will also be able to work directly with clinicians at St James’s, drawing on their expertise and on the data being captured by the hospital in developing new digital solutions.  In addition, The Digital Hub will provide free enterprise development supports for successful applicants.

“The beauty of this approach is that entrepreneurs will be developing solutions for real-life problems that have been identified by healthcare professionals.  This means that the market for potential solutions is already defined, a big help to companies looking to invest in product and service development”, according to Dr Brennan.

Brian Fitzgerald, CEO of St James’s Hospital commented that “there is increasing recognition of the need for technology to be used in health services to enhance the delivery of services and increase efficiency.  So it’s really exciting to know that, on our doorstep – less than a kilometre away – there are lots of start-ups and established companies in The Digital Hub that are young, hungry and creative, and are eager to get involved in the development of world-class healthcare tools.”

He added: “The advent of newer technologies in recent years, particularly tablet tech, means bedside technology is becoming an integral part of patient care.  At St James’s Hospital, we have developed an approach called ‘innovation and quality’, whereby we want as much innovation as possible to be brought to bear in the delivery of our services.  Our work with The Digital Hub on Connected Health is very much in keeping with this focus.”