Press Release

Minister O’ Malley gives opening address at the Wireless Health Informatics Morning Event

Tim O’Malley, Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, today (4th May 2006) gave the opening address at a Wireless Health Informatics Morning Event which was hosted by Allphar Services Limited (part of Uniphar plc).

Minister O’Malley welcomed the opportunity to speak at this event at a time when the internet, the mobile phone and modern information and communications technologies generally offer great opportunities to support health professionals in providing safer and more integrated care and also to improve access to health related services.

He recalled that he had led the Irish delegation to last year’s European eHealth Conference and that had been very impressed with the range of health care initiatives taking place in this area and with the fact that a number of Irish exhibits had been selected to feature at the Conference as examples of good practice.

He drew attention to the wide range of enabling factors that had to be considered in order to make such applications of technology a reality. One of these is the need to set developments within a national health information policy framework.

“Recognising the importance of setting eHealth developments and initiatives within a national information policy framework my Department published in 2004 the National Health Information Strategy” the Minister said.

He noted that the Health Information and Quality Authority would also play an important role in the setting of standards for information and data.

He referred to the fact that the establishment of the Health Service Executive provided the opportunity of going forward towards a national infrastructure and a common approach to implementing the IT systems which is required to make the aims of the National Health Information Strategy a reality.

He referred to the potential of e-learning to contribute to the necessary provision and updating of skills and digital literacy at all levels which will increasingly become a requirement as healthcare providers depend more and more on health informatics support.

Finally he drew attention to the level of funding (€65m pa) being provided for capital investment in ICT by the HSE, noted some of the projects being funded by this provision, and referred to measures introduced to ensure value for money from this expenditure.