11 March, 2021

Smart D8 initiative on health innovation launches

St Patrick's Mental Health Services (SPMHS) is delighted to take part in the Smart D8 initiative which aims to transform the health and wellbeing of citizens in Dublin 8 through innovation and collaboration.

Promoting health and wellbeing

Launched by the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, Smart D8 seeks to investigate how new and innovative approaches can be used to improve and sustain citizens’ health and wellbeing in Dublin 8.

The initiative brings together experts in healthcare, academia, local government and industry, and is being led by The Digital Hub, St James’ Hospital, Smart Dublin and Dublin City Council. Along with SPMHS, other partners include the Guinness Enterprise Centre, Health Service Executive (HSE) Digital Transformation, Tyndall National Institute, Trinity Research and Innovation, Trinity Translational Medicine Institute, the National College of Art and Design, and Health Innovation Hub Ireland.

SPMHS has been a well-known and active part of the Dublin 8 landscape since 1746, when St Patrick's University Hospital (SPUH) was founded through the will of Jonathan Swift, renowned author and Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral. SPUH was not only Ireland's first psychiatric hospital, but also one of the first in the world.

Meeting local needs

Ahead of the initiative's launch, research was carried out to better understand the current health and wellbeing needs in Dublin 8, with the findings being used to form the foundation of the initiative. The results showed that, in line with data from the Irish population as a whole, 82% of residents of the area were in very good or good health, with 40% taking regular exercise. However, 31% of the community had a long-standing health problem; 27% had accessed mental health supports in the last two years; and 21% had unmet health needs due to waiting lists. 68% of residents also advised that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their health and wellbeing negatively.

Initial health and wellbeing themes identified in consultation with the community include mental health, the impact of COVID-19, population health, environment, and positive and healthy ageing. A key element of the Smart D8 initiative is the creation of a health innovation district to provide a focal point for innovators working to develop product, service or technology solutions, building on the area’s existing networks of digital health companies and academic excellence.

The first call for Smart D8 pilot projects has launched, and focuses on the three themes of mental health, population health and COVID-19 Impact. The results of the pilots will act as a template for health and wellbeing management for the rest of the country.

Celebrating collaboration

Minister Simon Harris TD said:

“Smart D8 is an excellent example of how a multidisciplinary consortium, drawn from both the public and private sectors, can come together with the aim of transforming the health and wellbeing of a community. Smart City initiatives have exciting potential to benefit citizens and their communities, and I look forward to seeing Smart D8 explore the crucial area of health and wellbeing to deliver positive results for people living in Dublin 8.”

Fiach Mac Conghail, Chief Executive Officer of The Digital Hub, added:

“Smart D8 is a one-of-a-kind project where local residents are going to see tangible benefits through innovation in the health and wellbeing that our programmes will generate. The partners to this project bring a range of expertise in healthcare delivery, entrepreneurship and community engagement that combined will prove to be a powerful force.”

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Former service users and their supporters invited to join representative committee