Healthcare services in Ireland could be "transformed" thanks to a new centre which aims to use modern technology to offer patients a life away from hospital.
The new €5m Connected Health Technology Centre in UCD, launched by Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton, will bring the clinical, engineering and technology together, and allows for remote monitoring of patients.
This may allow people with a long-term illness to have vital readings on their blood pressure and heart rate to be checked at home without a visit to the doctor. The information can then be accessed by a medic and the patient can be monitored remotely.
Mr Bruton said it would also involve input from University of Limerick (UL) and almost all Higher Education Institutes in the country with connected health research capabilities. Speaking at the launch in the Mater Hospital in Dublin, he said: "Healthcare is a key sector which we have targeted as part of our action plan for jobs and we have put in place a range of measures including the establishment of a national healthcare innovation hub to support more Irish companies to establish and grow jobs.
"The technology centre we are launching today will be another crucial support for job creation in this area. By investing €5m, and, above all, by bringing together industry and researchers to work on common problems, we can develop cutting edge technologies and accelerate job-creation right across the country."
Michael O' Shea, the centre's director, pointed out: "Every country in the world is facing infinite demand for healthcare services. The scale of the challenge is daunting.
"However advances in technology are enabling a shift towards personalised healthcare and information-based health services."