Cognate expands as companies focus on occupational health

Cognate Health headhunts clinical experts as it invests €400,000 modernising its Cork city premises
Cognate expands as companies focus on occupational health

Launching Cognate Health's new clinic in Ballintemple, Cork, are: Noel Creedon, chair of Cognate Health; Paula Cogan, CEO of Cognate Health; An Taoiseach Micheál Martin; and Prof John Gallagher, founder and chief medical officer of Cognate Health. Picture: Michael O'Sullivan /OSM Photo

Occupational health services provider Cognate Health has launched a new state-of-the-art, sustainably-led clinic and training academy in Ballintemple, in Cork city.

With demand for health assessments, active case management and Covid protocol services soaring, Cognate has boosted its digital offering, headhunted leading occupational health clinical experts and added new chief medical officer consultancy, aviation and executive medical services.

Cognate advises and trains staff in more than 2,000 Irish-based companies, which employ more than 180,000 people. Cognate’s partners include Laya Healthcare, Spectrum Health and Mater Private. The pandemic has certainly accelerated the company’s growth.

“In recent years, we have been working closely with a lot of pharmaceutical and manufacturing companies who wanted to have their people on-site,” said Paula Cogan, CEO of Cognate Health. “Two years ago, many people wouldn’t have known too much about occupational health. Now it’s central to every business.

“Companies are engaging with hybrid working, and supporting their employees’ wellbeing from every health perspective. They’re conducting risk and ergonomic assessments in the workplace and in their employees’ homes. Everything has stepped up a gear.”

 Cognate Health’s €400,000 renovation of its 6,200-sqft facility at Boreenmanna Road follows sustained investment across all aspects of the business, with new hires and the introduction of new wellbeing and retention programmes, new IT and infrastructure, and expanded training and development offerings.

Recruiting highly-skilled, experienced occupational health (OH) experts has involved a global executive search. With Ireland having more than 160 unfilled OH vacancies at any given time, Cognate’s new OH experts have come from Malta, Spain and France.

“As with any other sector, people also want a one-stop-shop for their medical services,” said Paula Cogan. “Through our referrals process with our health sector partners, we’re able to deliver on that expectation.

“We’re also seeing that our clients have increasingly international workforces, which is why we can now offer medical consultations in eight languages. Whether a consultation is face-to-face or online, it’s important for a patient to receive sometimes complex medical information in their own language.” 

 Cognate Health’s national network of occupational health physicians have specialist expertise across sectors including construction, ICT, pharmaceutical, healthcare, agriculture, manufacturing, finance, public sector, and retail.

Cognate’s new aviation medical service will ensure pilots and aviation staff are ready as the air travel industry grows, and a mobile occupational health service that will operate across Munster, building on its in-clinic and remote services.

Investment in digitalisation has been central to Cognate’s growth. Online consultations have grown exponentially, while the cyber-attack on the HSE has seen client companies, health sector partners and patients all become more alert to the protection of personal information.

Speaking at the official opening, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: “I want to congratulate Cognate Health on its new clinic. Strong occupational health services are part of the foundation of an economy that supports both employers and employees, and I’m delighted to see Cognate Health grow and innovate to extend their services to even more businesses.” 

Paula Cogan added: “At Cognate Health, we pride ourselves in providing the most progressive services available such as chief medical officer consultancy to support employers as they plan for a changing work environment, and a range of health and wellbeing services.

“We want to offer the most fit-for-purpose OH services in Ireland that reflect the changing work environment, and we are delighted our new clinic will enable us to do this. As we further grow our offering, we can meet the ever-increasing needs of employers across the country to ensure they are compliant in all aspects of employee health and safety legislation.” 

 Cognate Health worked to ensure the renovation of its Ballintemple facility was as sustainable as possible. The company reused up to 70% of the existing fixtures and fittings. It also has plans for a bio-diversity garden.

Martin Corkery, Enterprise Ireland’s regional director for the South and South East Regions, said: “It is exciting to see this highly innovative company go from strength to strength with the opening of its new state-of-the-art clinic in Cork that will facilitate the expansion of further services for its client base.

“Cognate Health is a leader in the Occupational Health sector, providing employers and employees with cutting-edge solutions that address the needs, challenges and opportunities presented by the new world of work. Enterprise Ireland looks forward to continuing to work with Cognate Health as it increases scale and looks to expand into global markets.”

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