The huge promise of Connected Health is not yet being realised in day-to-day healthcare, according to a leading expert in Irish Connected Health research.

“Despite a clear need articulated repeatedly at national and international levels and the evident promise of Connected Health, the implementation of Connected Health solutions in everyday management of health is not widespread across Europe,” said Prof Brian Caulfield, director of the Insight Ireland Centre for Data Analytics at UCD.

Prof Caulfield is a leading expert in the field of Connected Health, an area of research that uses technology to provide the best personalised healthcare in the most efficient way possible.

He was speaking ahead of the announcement that €3.9 million of funding has been awarded to help early stage researchers understand and tackle this disconnect.

“This is essentially a redesign of researcher education in Connected Health,” Prof Caulfield said.

The redesign is a Europe-wide one and involves a collaboration between 18 partner organisations from eight European countries including universities, companies and healthcare providers.

CHESS (Connected Health Early Stage Researcher Support System) has been funded to the tune of €3.9 million under the Horizon2020 People Programme. It is Europe’s first networked Connected Health PhD training programme.

Part of the challenge that researchers face is that Connected Health spans many areas such as health, technology and business and expertise traditionally extends to one rather than all of the necessary fields. CHESS aims to develop connected health scientists and champions who understand multiple domains, can communicate in an interdisciplinary world and can operate across the education, industry, health and policy sectors. It will include secondments to different sectors, interdisciplinary communication skills, public engagement and outreach with particular focus on patient, clinician and policy-maker audiences.

There will be three researchers in [email protected], one in the Beacon Hospital, Sandyford and two in the University of Ulster.

“CHESS will work to better understand and address some of these challenges through 15 networked research projects,” Prof Caulfield said.

Connected Health is a rapidly growing field and many view it as the future of personalised, community based, affordable healthcare. It collects and analyses patient data over the long term, detecting tiny changes before a patient experiences symptoms. It connects GPs, hospitals, carers and patients creating an environment where patients are treated in the best location by the best practitioner using the most relevant and efficient methods. It can save money and lives while ensuring a better quality of life during and post-treatment. One of the aims of Connected Health is to keep people out of hospital unless they absolutely have to be there.

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