Minister Donohoe announces projects to be supported under the Public Service Innovation Fund 2024

19th March, 2024

Minister for Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD has today, 19 March 2024, announced the projects that will be supported under the Public Service Innovation Fund 2024. The six projects that have been awarded a total of €500,000, include initiatives from the health, education, local government and voluntary sectors.

 

The Public Service Innovation Fund 2024 received 55 applications from public service bodies throughout Ireland which align to the core themes of Government’s Better Public Services Transformation Strategy – Digital and Innovation at scale; Workforce and Organisation of the Future; and Evidence Informed Policy and Service.

 

The new proposed Public Service projects awarded funding include:

  • A user-centred, digital-supported project from Dublin City Council (in collaboration with NCAD and the HSE) to transform their Social Housing Maintenance Service; 
  • The development of a wearable device by Tallaght University Hospital (in collaboration with St. James Hospital) which will be used in the treatment of patients with asthma;
  • A digital reporting portal for lifeguards, to be developed by Clare County Council;
  • A study by St. Vincent’s Hospital (in collaboration with the HSE and UCD) to examine the feasibility of using an AI-based system to triage and evaluate for heart disease in a community setting;
  • An app to be developed by Dublin City University and the Localise Youth Volunteering programme that will provide young people with a place to record volunteering achievements;
  • A project to revolutionise maternity care by integrating an innovative risk assessment tool with the National Maternal and Neonatal Clinical Management System. 

 

Since 2019, the Public Service Innovation Fund has provided around €3.5 million in funding support to over 105 projects across Ireland. The Public Service Innovation Fund 2024 is the sixth iteration of the fund and this year’s competition placed a strong focus on cross-organisational digital transformation to advance the vision for a digital Public Service as set out in the Better Public Services transformation strategy

 

Announcing the recipients of this year’s fund, Minister Donohoe said:

 

“The Public Service Innovation Fund provides an important opportunity for innovators in our Public Service to explore new solutions for improved services, more seamless and inclusive digital delivery and the development of scalable innovations and enhanced collaboration between Public Service organisations.

 

“This year’s competition encouraged an emphasis on scalability, transferability and learning. I am very happy to announce the successful projects that my Department will support this year and which highlight the commitment to transformation within the Public Service, the potential for cross-sectoral collaboration and the ambition to deliver more for our people. I am looking forward to seeing these initiatives make a real difference in people’s lives and support our shared vision of better public services for all.”

 

You can find out more about the fund and this year’s successful projects at gov.ie/transformation.

 

Notes:

 

Public Service Innovation Fund 2024 – Supported Projects

 

Project: Asthma Wearable Device
Organisation: Tallaght University Hospital (in collaboration with St James Hospital)
Summary of Project: 50 patients with a diagnosis of moderate to severe asthma will use a wearable device, a Bluetooth home spirometer (measuring lung function at home). This will allow patients to measure and record their sleep patterns, pulse rate, activity levels, lung function on a weekly and/or symptom prompted basis and record patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) over a period of 6 month per patient. 

 

The wearable device will also provide to their clinician a retrospective and objective dataset of how the patient was doing over the preceding months facilitating the detection of significant changes in the patient’s condition using the data from the wearable and PROMs. 

 
Project: National Youth Volunteering Portfolio – Digital Wallet
Organisation: Dublin City University (in collaboration with Localise Youth Volunteering)
Summary of Project: The National Youth Volunteer Portfolio (MyVP) is a digital wallet that provides young people with a space and a place to record their volunteering achievements, have their skills and attributes endorsed, outline their key learnings, reflect on their experiences, and outline a vision for their future. The wallet will provide for Improved overall equity of educational outcomes by creating a pathway to education for young people who are disadvantaged by the ‘points race’.
 
Project: Future of Housing Maintenance
Organisation: Dublin City Council (in collaboration with the HSE and NCAD)
Summary of Project: This project offers the opportunity to transform the House Maintenance Service and improve the experience for tenants and staff by developing:

  • A canonical dataset for repairs.
  • A Call-takers Guidance Tool to help capture quality information from tenants.
  • A Tradesperson App to allow depot management and tradespeople to access and manage repairs on the go.
  • A physical touchpoint and digital interface for tenants to opt for self-service repairs and for digital-based reporting as an alternative to phone calls wherever possible.
  • A user-centred process for vulnerable tenants to more easily secure the housing maintenance supports.
  • Digitally enabled customer feedback.
 
Project: Lifeguards online reporting portal
Organisation: Clare County Council
Summary of Project: This application is seeking funding for 25 tablets which lifeguards and supervisors could use to input and collate the data on a daily basis. The I.T. team will develop the reporting portal and this will be installed in each tablet. The project involves a change of work methods. Currently, Lifeguards complete paperwork and it is then collected by Supervisors from 12 locations. 

 

The project meets the requirements of the funds goals and of Clare Co Co Innovation Strategy targets by demonstrating a new, more efficient way of working. Clare County Council with the support of the innovation fund, are aiming to transform the data capture process for the lifeguard service. Our ambition is to eliminate the labour-intensive paper-based process that often results in delayed activity reporting.

 
Project: Comparison of Departmental Echocardiogram vs Caption AI-driven Acquisition
Organisation: St. Vincent’s Hospital (in collaboration with the HSE and UCD)
Summary of Project: The aim of this 250 patient study is to examine the feasibility of using the Caption AI™ system to triage low-acuity patients in a community setting who have been referred for an echocardiogram to evaluate for heart disease. Each patient undergoing an echocardiogram will have a matched ‘standard’ echocardiogram performed and the resulting images reviewed by two cardiologists to assess degree of agreement and reliability of the clinical interpretation made based on the images acquired. 

 

Access to cardiac ultrasound/echocardiography is a challenge in many healthcare systems. Caption AI™ (Caption Health, Brisbane, CA, USA) is an artificial intelligence-driven echocardiographic software algorithm which can instruct an untrained individual to perform a standard echocardiogram test and obtain images which can then be reviewed by a cardiologist to determine if a patient has a normal or an abnormal heart. It has been shown to be roughly comparable to a ‘standard’ echocardiogram study performed by a trained individual for overall assessment of heart structure and function. It is hoped that using such a system will allow non-specialised medical staff (e.g. nurses, junior doctors etc) to perform high quality diagnostic tests which can be reviewed and signed off by a specialist, and thereby improving access to testing. 

 
Project: PROTECT-MOM
Organisation: Rotunda Hospital (in collaboration with HSE/Maternal & Newborn Clinical Management System (MNCMS)/International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis/NIMIS/HIPE/Healthcare Pricing Office/CO)
Summary of Project: The ambition of this project is to seamlessly integrate Thrombocalc, an innovative VTE risk assessment tool, with the National Maternal and Neonatal Clinical Management System (MNCMS), thereby revolutionising maternal healthcare across Ireland. Leveraging SMART on FHIR technology, we have transitioned from a prototype to live system functionality, enabling interoperability between Thrombocalc and MNCMS through the “ignite” API. Collaboration between the Rotunda Hospital and the National MNCMS team is pivotal to achieving this integration. 

 

The project aims to streamline data flow, automating processes to benefit every pregnant patient within the Irish healthcare system, with future expansion to encompass all patients. Our vision extends beyond the Rotunda Hospital, envisioning integration with other e-health systems like EPIC in the Children’s Health System (CHI) and as a stand-alone app. Ultimately, our goal is integration with a future national Electronic Health Record (EHR), ensuring seamless, comprehensive healthcare delivery across Ireland. 

 

 

 

About Better Public Services:

Better Public Services, is a transformation strategy to 2030 for the Public Service aimed at delivering for the public and building trust. 

 

The vision set out in the Strategy is for inclusive, high quality and integrated Public Service provision that meets the needs, and improves the lives, of the people of Ireland. The Public Service Transformation Framework, which is at the core of the Strategy, comprises three central themes: Digital and Innovation at Scale; Workforce and Organisation of the Future; and Evidence-Informed Policies and Services Designed for and with our Public.

 

The Framework is a clear direction of reform for the Public Service to 2030. Making progress under these themes will support sectoral level reform programmes already underway in the Public Service.

 

The Department of Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform (DPENDR) leads the transformation agenda across the Irish Public and Civil Service to support excellence in public service delivery. You can find out more about the strategy at gov.ie/transformation.

ENDS