A Dublin-based software company has won a €5m contract with the EU to develop a health app to speed up the medical diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases across member states.
Using a technology platform developed by Irish firm OpenApp, thousands of experts, researchers and doctors working in 370 hospitals and 1,000 specialist centres of expertise will be able to work as "a virtual clinical team" on urgent patient cases.
OpenApp, which already employs 32 software developers and a helpdesk support team at its headquarters in Dublin's Parnell Street, is now looking to double its workforce. It will develop and manage the app over the next four years with support from Vitro Software, another Irish healthcare software business.
Founded in 2002, health analytics firm OpenApp specialises in open source applications. It partners with the likes of the HSE, the Ambulance Service and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland to provide clinical data registries such as HealthAtlas.
With annual revenues of about €2m, managing director Mel McIntyre says the EU deal is "a game-changer" for OpenApp.
"It's a real digital single market success story. It's the first significant digital cross-border collaboration in healthcare that is supported by the EU," he said.
McIntyre says the EU wants to develop a European Reference Network for rare diseases that provides a common IT platform for health teams across all member states.
"The idea that we can contribute to improved diagnosis of patients with rare disorders is very exciting. We have been developing patient-centric information systems for a number of years in collaboration with Irish health services and we now get to use this knowledge and expertise on a European stage to promote shared cross-border healthcare."
In order to deliver a project of this scale, OpenApp is collaborating with other EU healthcare IT firms, including Cineca in Italy, Aridia in Scotland and Vu2Vu in Ireland.
OpenApp has received €200,000 grant aid from Enterprise Ireland to support its ongoing research and development in software technology.