THE use of drone technology to expedite medical deliveries to rural communities is one of three Limerick projects to benefit from this year’s €750,000 Public Service Innovation Fund.
The other Limerick projects involve the use of radio frequency identification tags to streamline the hospital bed management process and the development of 3D printed bespoke breast prostheses for mastectomy patients.
They were among 18 projects from all over the country that benefit from investment of between €60,000 and €25,000 as well as ongoing support and mentoring from the Public Sector Transformation Delivery Unit.
Projects allocated funding seek to tackle key issues in health, climate and accessibility to public services.
€50,000 was awarded to Limerick City and County Council and Innovate Limerick for the development of their Healthcare Drone Delivery project
The proposal is to use delivery drones to operate an on-demand service that will streamline medical deliveries, expand patient capacity, reduce overcrowding in hospital emergency departments, cut carbon footprints and and improve healthcare outcomes for patients.
This will involve a full risk analysis of the chosen air corridors, community engagement, and a full review of how the service integrates with healthcare providers at both the launch and landing sites.
A full flight implementation and pilot management plan will also be developed in collaboration with Irish Aviation Authority.
A further €25,000 was allocated to Limerick City and County Council and Innovate Limerick for their Healthcare Bed Management Solution project.
This seek to transform and streamline the hospital bed management process by automating administration through the use of radio frequency identification tags, a workflow platform and a dashboard that visualises progress and potential back logs in real time.
It is estimated that this would lead to a 30 per cent improvement in average waiting time associated with bed space management and allocation leading to a more enhanced patient experience.
It is also expected to result in greater compliance and governance procedures resulting in improved risk management as well as reducing operational costs through improved risk and task management.
€45,000 was awarded to University Hospital Limerick for the development of 3D printed bespoke breast prostheses for post-mastectomy patients.
The proposal is to design and pilot a new service for patients that have undergone a complete mastectomy and provide an option in availing of bespoke prostheses at the point of care.
It is estimated that this will lead to a 30 per cent improvement in average waiting time associated with bed space management leading to a more enhanced patient experience.
It would also ensure greater compliance and governance procedures resulting in improved risk management and reduced operational costs.