“The next programme of Public Service reform is under development. In the meantime the OPS Networks and Action Teams will continue their existing work programmes, so keep an eye on the website for all our latest news. Please contact the PMO office if you have any queries at reformoffice@per.gov.ie

Future Tech Challenge: Finale Evaluation Pitch Event

 

Category – Remote Connectivity

Partnering Company – Cisco

 

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Project Title:  Clare Island Digital Health Living Lab

Lead Public Organisation(s):

  • HSE, NUIG & Mayo County Council

Description:  The ambition of this project is to provide an integrated digital health solution which helps proactively monitor and intervene for the health of Clare Islanders. The HSE has articulated an Innovation Strategy called ‘Stay Left, Shift Left’ which advocates for innovations which allow for citizens/patients health to be managed best of all from home.

It is proposed that an integrated communications system on the Island will underpin proactive remote monitoring of all islanders, facilitate live video consultations, support proactive chronic disease management, and potentially facilitate the drone delivery of medicine.

The project would address key challenges such as providing timely access to doctor consultations, hospital at home care and reducing care visits to the mainland. Patients will be proactively monitored and early interventions will help improve patient outcomes and reduce the cost of care. Using a digital closed loop system, islanders can have medical consultations, and GPs can electronically prescribe medications that can be delivered to the island via drone.

This Living Lab should be an exemplar to quantify the benefits and provide a blueprint for the roll out of the solution to other islands, remote places, and even urban areas. This project will be the first digital proactively monitored health system for a population subset in Ireland, possibly globally. An aim of the project is to prove the system success and then create a design pattern for replication to other islands and remote communities. As the proposed technologies and solutions are modular, they should be readily scalable.

 

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Project Title:  Development of Hybrid Hearing Model

Lead Public Organisation(s): 

  • Workplace Relations Commission

Description:  The WRC plays a vital role to deliver fair and compliant workplaces and the non-discriminatory delivery of goods and services. In response to remote working, the WRC adapted frontline services to be delivered remotely, including Adjudication, Conciliation and Mediation. Since April 2021, all adjudication decisions must now be held in public (with some exceptions).

 

The WRC seek to offer a hybrid hearing solution which will combine a mixture of traditional in-person and online hearings with participants, and public attendees being enabled to attend in both formats, dependent on the case and relevant health guidelines.

 

The project seeks to use a mixture of hardware and software to equip hearing rooms and enable high-quality audio and video connections to facilitate hybrid hearings. In addition, the WRC aims to provide customised software solutions to adjudication hearings, so members of the public may attend but not participate, or participants may attend in-person or remotely to give their evidence. As Mediations and Conciliations are private hearings, the solution is required to offer the ability to use breakout rooms for participants to enable meetings and private discussions, while the hearings are ongoing.

 

The introduction of this solution will greatly improve how service users can be supported to access hearings, and will provide a number of benefits. Benefits will include an improvement in accessibility to justice, as the burden and expense of travel to attend a hearing can be minimised or eliminated completely; all parties can review relevant evidence online, reducing printing cost and ensuring single version control; the solution will also support increased efficiencies for the WRC and ensure more efficient scheduling of hearings. The proposed solution is readily transferable to other organisations offering access to justice, and quasi-judicial bodies

 

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Project Title:  Medications Delivery Robot

Lead Public Organisation(s): 

  • St James’s Hospital
  • HSE Spark Innovation programme

Description:  Certain medications need to be distributed multiple times per day across the hospital, which contains 1000 patient beds, across 40 wards. Medications are delivered from a central pharmacy unit to each ward. At present, nursing and healthcare staff are required to leave the patient floor numerous times to collect and deliver medications, reducing the potential direct patient care time they can provide, and disrupting patient care/nursing activities.

 

The proposed solution seeks to introduce an automated mobile robot (AMV) that would provide a means of secure, hourly scheduled and unscheduled delivery of medication to wards that have ordered same.

 

The introduction of an AMV would have significant benefits on the hospital and patients, including improving timely availability of medication, reducing unnecessary staff-staff interaction which could reduce potential cross-infection events, increase staff efficiencies, facilitate nurses and other healthcare staff to provide more direct patient care, and inform potential future automation vehicles between the Children’s Hospital and St James’s campus.

 

The introduction of an AMV, that would move alongside patients, staff and visitors in the campus, could also be used to establish greater acceptance of robotics and AI I healthcare over the coming decades. The St James’s team have also received funding from the Innovation Fund to develop a design space for public healthcare innovation that supports developments similar the AMV.

 

Category – Artificial Intelligence

Partnering Company – IBM

 

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Project Title:  Better management of Bovine TB using data to prevent risk

Lead Public Organisation(s): 

  • Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Description:  Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) is a serious disease of cattle, a public health concern, and a threat to Ireland’s ability to export meat and milk products. The national bTB eradication programme has direct annual costs of around 100m, whole over 4,000 farmers suffer an outbreak in their herds annually. The risk pathways for bTB are well characterised through years of epidemiological research. In addition, the Department maintains extensive records of all cattle movements, including records of all bTB testing, outbreaks, restricted herds and other related information.

The Department believe there is considerable scope to combine the significant datasets with their understanding of how bTB spreads, and use this to predict bTB risk and support better disease management, driving towards eradication. This potential is even clearer following following technological advancements brought about by COVID-19. The use of technology would enable real-time management of bTB risk, faster and more targeted response, and pro-active tackling of bTB spread. It could be used by veterinarians, and in time, farmers and would enable those most affected by bTB to take action to mitigate their risk, protect their cattle, and secure their livelihood. This will also reduce the cost to the taxpayer.

The project will use the extensive data available in the Department and use the latest data processing and modelling techniques to identify and rank locations, herds and animals at risk of contracting the disease. The system will be developed based on infrastructure for tracking bTB outbreaks but will be applicable to other bovine diseases in other species and other exotic diseases.

This will be the first such animal disease risk protection system in Ireland, and once established for bTB, the methodology can also be applied to other infectious diseases of livestock.

 

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Project Title:  AI-powered analysis of CRO records on annual reports

Lead Public Organisation(s): 

  • Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
  • Companies Registration Office

Description:  Companies are legally obliged to file certain documents with the CRO, including annual returns. These are stored as scanned images which vary in format. However, there is common numerical data among the returns, including profits, revenue, assets, debt, equities, etc. These records have vast untapped potential for use in statistical reports and enterprise policy analysis.

This project seeks to use AI-powered text analysis to extract useful numerical data from the scanned images in bulk. In addition, it may also be possible to use NLP (Natural Language Processing) to glean other information common to financial statements (principal risks, principal activity, and business developments) – factors which could be important for maintaining accurate classifications and examining thematic trends. It is hoped the project could lead to greater understanding of the potential for using AI-powered text analysis for extracting business insights to better inform enterprise policy development and analysis.

The Department currently carries out analysis on this data for evidence-based policy making through surveys. The CRO collects in the region of 250,000 annual reports, which would provide a comprehensive database on the performance of the Irish business sector, with close to full coverage of the population.

The project can be developed and scaled over three dimensions, and would involve an initial examination of a subset of the data, followed by exploring the potential for using NLP. Finally, the project will undertake a lessons learned exercise to assess the transferability of the methodology to other public sector bodies who have significant databases of scanned records/reports.

 

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Project Title:  Integrating LENUS institutional repository content in the LAMA Watson Assistant AI Chatbox via data and text mining for better search results

Lead Public Organisation(s): 

  • National Library and Information Service, HSE

Description:  LENUS is a national open access repository for medical and healthcare research and policy, managed by the Digital Knowledge Service. All research in LENUS is freely and openly accessible in accordance with appropriate national and European guidelines, which requires a comparatively modest investment to fully leverage its potential.

The DKS and IBM have previously used Watson Discovery (IBM solution) cognitive search and content analytics engine to prototype a stronger search capability. This project proposes to build on and improve the prototype, by deploying the cognitive search and content analytics engine text-mining on all LENUS content, creating a comprehensive sophisticated search layer.

This project will provide more meaningful and relevant search results in a user-friendly interface, which will save clinicians, researchers and managers’ time, and lead to better discovery and exploitation of existing research.

This will build confidence in LENUS as an important repository of health research and policy. This will also support and encourage the use of research and improved evidence-based decision making, with the end goal of better patient outcomes. Similar repositories are used in many universities, and as such, this project has potential for national scalability with significant outcomes.

 

Category – Cloud Computing

Partnering Company – Amazon Web Services

 

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Project Title:  MyCoCo – all local authorities services in one portal

Lead Public Organisation(s): 

  • Monaghan County Council (incl. Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, Mayo, Louth, Laois, Cavan, Sligo, Longford, Leitrim, Clare)

Description:  Local authorities offer more than 1000 diverse services to the public, many of which are provided using paper-based forms, with cheque payment, and low visibility to a customer re: the progress of their application. MyCoCo is a prototype solution which offers an online platform to provide diverse services that can be scaled up with an extension of services. In addition, the solution can be moved to a national platform to deliver services.

 

Using MyCoCo, citizens, businesses, and organisations can set up an account, browse the service catalogue to request a service, add it to their basket, make a payment and track its progress. In addition, MyCoCo will leverage other governmental initiatives, such as MyGovID and the digital postbox, which offer secure government-wide single log-in to services. MyCoCo gives local authorities full visibility of service offerings and provides baseline metrics that can be used for KPIs. It also supports the blended office based and remote working environment.

 

MyCoCo is a transformative solution that will provide better customer service and increase efficiencies. The introduction of MyCoCo also prioritises customer satisfaction and provides a modern interface for customers to interact with local authorities.

 

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Project Title:  Openflow – streamlining inter-hospital transfers through a cloud-based data exchange platform

Lead Public Organisation(s): 

  • Mater Hospital

Description:  Patients are routinely transferred from one hospital to another in Ireland for specialist treatment, however, before the patient can be transferred, the receiving hospital requires access to patient information and test results to determine if they are suitable and ready for transfer. The specialist site also needs to transfer information back to the local hospital to inform follow-up care on return to the origin site. At present, this data is exchanged through a combination of phone calls, emails, letters, faxes and courier transfers of discs, with multiple staff involved and no visibility of each other’s systems. This results in significant inefficiencies, repeated tests, delays in transfer for time-sensitive treatment, and in some instances, cancelled or deferred surgery where information gaps are noticed too late in the process.

 

The proposed project seeks to develop a cloud based platform that would enable real-time, two-way exchange of text, images, audio and scan files in a highly secure environment. This solution would provide centralised, real-time information thus expediting decision making; enable faster access to time-sensitive surgery where required; help clinicians better identify and prioritise the sickest patients by providing them with clearer visibility of information; and provide a more equitable and transparent service. In addition, the solution would save bed days, reduce wasted resource due to excessive administration and repeated testing, and reduce stress and frustration for staff associated with working in an inefficient system where resources are utilised poorly and procedures are cancelled or delayed.

 

The solution will be introduced as a pilot to cardiothoracic surgery. The solution could be adopted by other clinical specialities, and streamline data exchange for all hospital transfers.

 

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Project Title:  Transforming customer service in ISD through AI and machine learning with translation

Lead Public Organisation(s): 

  • Department of Justice

Description:  The Immigration Service Delivery (ISD) unit handled 330,000 applications for immigration schemes in 2019. In addition, over nine million people visited the website and the ISD received 190,000 email queries. At present, nine individual units with the ISD are responsible for their own customer service, however, few have dedicated teams, and all units operate without agreed metrics, consistent standards or quality checks. Dissatisfied customers escalate queries or lodge complaints which can result in poor press and negative interactions with Oireachtas members, all of which affects trust in credibility and is a reputational risk.

 

The introduction of a fully-digital, customer-centric immigration service will enable the ISD to communicate effectively with service users, and the integration of digital messaging systems will enable greater sharing of information. The introduction of AI will provide a disruptive service model that will help ISD transform from a disjointed organisation to one that can offer better value for taxpayers, with cross-organisational and cross-functional working.

 

The proposed solution will revolutionise customers’ experience and empower them to manage their own accounts and track their applications progress.