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Video system which allowed families contact their loved ones in intensive care wins national award

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Dr Aoife Murray, NUI Galway and Irial Conroy, IBM, with Breda McColgan, PJ McKenna, and Brian O’Donoghue remotely. Photo: Aoife Morrissey, Saolta Communications

Dr Aoife Murray, NUI Galway and Irial Conroy, IBM, with Breda McColgan, PJ McKenna, and Brian O’Donoghue remotely. Photo: Aoife Morrissey, Saolta Communications

Dr Aoife Murray, NUI Galway and Irial Conroy, IBM, with Breda McColgan, PJ McKenna, and Brian O’Donoghue remotely. Photo: Aoife Morrissey, Saolta Communications

A video call system which allowed families to stay in touch with their loved ones in intensive care during the pandemic, has won a national award.

NUI Galway has been honoured with the National Impact Award which allowed families to stay in touch with their relatives in the intensive care unit (ICU) at University Hospital Galway.

In March, the ICU team got in touch with NUI Galway, to see if a communications system could be developed.

And the university team answered the call, reaching out to industry contacts and providing a NUI Galway, Cisco and IBM, assembled video call system.

David Murphy, director of technology transfer and innovation at NUI Galway, said the award is a “reflection of the commitment to community in a time when it was so important to those affected by the pandemic.”

Mr Murphy added the university was “a place well-known for collaboration and creativity, and as a global medtech hub, our research and innovation community has been to the fore in looking at innovations and insights that can support the response to the COVID-19 crisis.

“This achievement is a positive reflection of the talent within the university, industry and hospital.”

The project won the Knowledge Transfer Ireland Impact Award, in the ‘COVID-19 Response’ Category on 26 November.

The video phone tech was developed specifically for the ICU setting.

The secure system caters for close family members, who are invited by a nurse looking after a patient, to see and speak to their loved one.

Named the ICU FamilyLink, the tech also enables staff to advise the family and discuss medical and treatment issues that arise.

The system runs on the hospital’s Cisco enterprise wireless network.

The awards recognise and showcase the success in knowledge transfer carried out in higher education institutions and publicly funded research organisations for the wider benefit of the economy and society at large.

KTI director and chair of the judging panel, Dr Alison Campbell, said: “The finalists and winners of these awards are real examples of the compelling work being undertaken in the third level to support innovation and to help Irish companies thrive in challenging markets, delivering benefit to the economy and for people.”

This initiative was delivered by Irial Conroy (IBM) and Dr Aoife Murray (NUI Galway), both BioInnovate alumni, Brian O’Donoghue (Cisco), Breda McColgan (IBM), PJ McKenna (IBM), Frank Kirrane (UHG), Leonie Cullen (UHG) and Dr Bairbre McNicholas (UHG).

Irish Independent


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