'I had a child born with kidney challenges ... tech can help transform Ireland's healthcare system' - Aisling Keegan, Dell EMC
Ireland needs to be more ambitious in terms of leveraging technology to transform its healthcare system, or the existing challenges facing the system - already at crisis point - will only worsen.
It’s more than just the job that inspires vice-president and general manager of Dell EMC Ireland Aisling Keegan’s passion for change; she draws on personal experience when it comes to aiming for a brighter healthcare future.
"I had a child born with kidney challenges, my now 11-year-old has been under the care of a children's hospital and I look at how far we've come," she told Independent.ie.
"My child’s personal records have gone from a centimetre to more than 10 inches high over the last 11 years. The health strategy has undergone huge inroads into digitising; there’s more opportunity now to leverage the digital transformation in the health care space.
"I am genuinely so privileged that I’m working in Ireland enabling healthcare organisations to deliver healthcare solutions, the tech solutions, that actually save human lives and can create different outcomes."
More than 6,000 hospitals worldwide leverage Dell EMC solutions and the healthcare life science vertical is one the largest for the group, "the consumerism of healthcare".
In working with their partners, Keegan said they have seen a huge shift, as patients are moving from a more passive stance to active personal engagement.
As a result of that shift, there are more demands, an increased expectation, and more personalised information required; all added to existing waiting lists and a growing aging population. Issues that can be addressed using technology, but Keegan maintains awareness is not yet prevalent.
"The rate of acceleration of adoption of this new tech - [cognitive solutions, AI, machine learning etc] - is not as fast as it should be in terms of the market that we're living in. And that’s not unique to just healthcare," she said.
"There’s a gap in terms of educating and showcasing how tech can actually enable better outcomes better production and procedures."
Although there is much discussion on introducing electronic health records here in Ireland, Aisling believes we need to be more ambitious as to how technology can bring positive change to every aspect of healthcare.
She acknowledges the work the State is doing it terms of digitising and transforming the healthcare system here, but she believes there is “so much more to do”.
"Budget and funding of healthcare organisations are flagged continuously as a challenge. But if you look at the funding, and the money even allocated in this year’s Budget, how we're using that money is perhaps most important.
"As a country, we are ambitious in our plans but need awareness about the need to accelerate that change, we need to educate our partners in what they could realise.
"If I could go into the hospital over those 11 years and have had one single repository that all authorised users could access, that would be the nirvana."
Aisling Keegan received the Women Mean Business 2018 Businesswoman of the Year award this month. Now in its 12th year, the Women Mean Business (WMB) event recognises the achievements of outstanding businesswomen and female entrepreneurs.