Dr Tanya Mulcahy, national manager Health Innovation Hub Ireland
It’s managed chaos from the moment the alarm goes off as myself, my husband Kevin and the three boys ready ourselves to leave home for 8am. Ben (15) and Conor (14) walk to school. Jake (11) and I freewheel down Sunday’s Well, and once he’s reached the school gates, I cycle on to the Western Gateway Building on Western Road, Cork, the national headquarters for the Health Innovation Hub.
I check emails before meeting the rest of the Cork team — two nurses, a biomedical engineer and a project manager. We discuss projects they are working on.
We work with companies to provide access to the healthcare system to test and validate their products through pilot studies and we work with healthcare staff who have ideas to solve a clinical need. Since 2016, we have worked with more than 300 people who have either developed a product or have an idea to address a real healthcare problem.
I meet with a physiotherapist in stroke care. She has an idea for developing an app that would help with rehabilitation of stroke survivors who have difficulty swallowing. We also meet with speech and language therapists for their input.
I try to get out for a walk in Fitzgerald’s Park over lunch, it’s a good chance to catch up with friends.
While UCC is the HQ for the Hub, we have a national presence with Hubs in Galway, Dublin and Cork Institute of Technology also. Today, all of our sites partake in a two-hour conference call.
We have over 50 projects ongoing with companies, and 25 ideas under assessment. It’s my job as national manager to check that all projects are being delivered according to plan. It’s exciting to see our healthcare teams embracing innovation- technology will play a huge role in future healthcare delivery.
We discuss the new call outs we are planning for December, seeking innovations to address healthcare problems. We link in with the HSE and Department of Health to understand their key priorities. To select the best projects, we run a Dragons’ Den style review. It’s a great opportunity for companies to interact with healthcare experts.
It’s an uphill cycle home. There’s a quick feeding of the troops before we head pitch-side as the boys play various matches.