Skip to main content

On June 27th, 2024, the Connected Health and Wellbeing Cluster, in collaboration with EIT Health Ireland-UK, hosted the pivotal “Innovative Synergies: Integrating Data and Collaboration in Healthcare” conference at Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT). The conference themed in shaping the future of Digital Health data collaboration. This one-day event, supported by InterTrade Ireland, the Health Innovation Research Alliance Northern Ireland, and dConnect brought together experts to discuss the future of digital health in Europe. It focused on healthcare providers, SMEs, corporates, and academics across Ireland, fostering innovation and addressing the dynamic challenges of data management in the health sector along with the European Health Data Space (EHDS) and the EU AI Act.

The conference agenda included:

“Optimising Data” an insightful opening session by Peter Rose, Group Technical Director at Tekenable. Peter delved into strategies for optimising data to enhance healthcare outcomes, setting the stage for the day’s discussions.

Session 1 was appropriately named “Progress & Priorities” as it focused on data and  collaboration in the public healthcare systems and the progressive main priorities for patient / system collaboration. This session featured key speakers from the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Health and Social Care Northern Ireland (HSC NI), including Loretto Grogan, Niall Halliday, Julie Bellew, and Irene Finnegan with Dr. Frances Burns presenting the HSC NI perspective. The focus was on the current progress and future priorities in patient and public health data collaboration.

Industry case studies were presented by Heart Rhythm Ireland (HRI) and Screen Clinical (NI).  Heart Rhythm Ireland’s CEO Robert Kelly showcased their cardiac rhythm management platform and discussed their collaboration with IBM for AI advancements in cardiac care. Screen Clinical’s Commercial Director, Marie-Therese Connolly highlighted their strengths in utilising patient-level data to improve health outcomes and addressed how the company approached and succeeded with the complicated data protection challenges.

Session 2 explored the very significant European Health Data Space (EHDS) through a vibrant and informative panel session. This session commenced with a joint presentation from by Elaine Murray (Public Affairs Lead at EIT Health Ireland-UK) and Leah Dowdall (Assistant Principal Officer, Health Information Policy Unit at Department of Health), on the EHDS and explained how the European Union’s Strategy for Data is paving the way for greater cross-border accessibility to anonymised health data. The EHDS is a new framework aimed at giving citizens access to their digital health data and facilitating cross-border health data sharing for research and innovation. Esteemed experts, including Loretto Grogan (National Clinical Information Officer for Nursing and Midwifery, National Digital Health Clinical Office, HSE), Dr. Frances Burns (Lead for the Northern Ireland Trust Research Environment (NITRE), Director of the Northern Ireland Public Data Panel (NIPDP), Julia Palma (Innovation Programmes Manager, CeADAR – Ireland’s Centre for Applied AI), and Leah, discussed the transformative potential of EHDS in the panel discussion expertly chaired by Elaine. The panel discussed: cross-border data sharing and the potential impact on patients and clinicians by facilitating seamless health data access across Europe; opportunities for research and innovation and unlocking new possibilities for digital health; streamlining all-island data through enhancing collaboration and data integration across Ireland and Northern Ireland; data governance and transparency discussing interoperability standards for AI in healthcare.

Rob Schubert, Regional Coordinator for BeNeLux presented information on the EIT Health Innovators Community Board. This board is dedicated to guiding and strengthening the European innovators community as it solidifies its position in the European innovation ecosystem.

Session 3 featured successful data management and collaboration case studies based in data and collaboration between academia and healthcare providers and include:


      • Joan Condell who discussed her work on AI-driven dementia care with the Northern Health and Social Care Trust.

      • Dr. Suja Somanadhan who shared insights from the All-Ireland Rare Diseases Interdisciplinary Research Network (RAiN).

    • Julia Palma from CeADAR who talked about data and AI innovation tools for international healthcare collaboration.


Session 4 was the second panel discussion of the one-day conference and discussed how AI is impacting domains such as, sport, creative and health. This session was aptly named “Learning from Each Other”. Thomas Coleman (CEO Zendra Health and Chairperson of the Connected Health & Wellbeing Cluster) knowledgeably chaired the session that explored the implications of the EU AI Act on healthcare ecosystems, regulatory compliance, ethical considerations, innovation opportunities and how different domains should learn from each other in the application of AI. The esteemed panel members included Dr. Ceara Treacy, dConnect, Shona D’Arcy Entrepreneurship Lead at EIT Health (Ireland-UK), Founder & CEO Kids Speech Labs, AI innovator, Dr. Róisín Loughran, Manager of the Regulated Software Research Centre and Arthur McMahon, CTO of STATSports.

Session 5 was the final session of the day and highlighted collaborative projects between industry and healthcare providers. The projects included:


      • COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) project from Megan Smith  (Head of Product Development & Strategic Partnerships) in Care-Connect & Tallaght University Hospital. This is a Joint project enrolling patients with COPD onto a virtual platform where they are followed for early signs of deterioration.

      • The H2O initiative, presented by Adrian Coyle (Access and Strategic Partnership Manager, Takeda Products Ireland). The project aims to incorporate patient outcomes into healthcare decision-making through robust data governance and infrastructure.

    • The eHealth Hub for Cancer project was presented by Prof. Aedin Culhane from the Limerick Digital Cancer Research Centre. Prof. Culhane emphasised advancements in digital health for cancer care.


The conference was a transformative event, driving forward the integration of data and collaboration in healthcare through bringing together industry leaders, healthcare providers, and academic researchers. The conference cultivated innovation and addressed the fast-paced evolution of technology and healthcare needs. Attendees left with a deeper understanding of how to balance data protection with data sharing, ultimately enhancing patient care and healthcare delivery across Ireland and beyond.


Leave a Reply