A new technology platform, designed to bring a multitude of ward monitoring, hospital and patient management tools under one umbrella could revolutionise healthcare in Northern Ireland.

A partnership has been formalised between MOIC (the Medicines Optimisation Innovation Centre), CHIC (Connected Health Innovation Centre), Healthcare Analytics, RF Proximity, and Multitone Electronics to trial the new platform in Antrim Area Hospital, designed to centralise the way technology is hosted.

MOIC, who have already been involved in research and development for many innovations throughout health and social care in Northern Ireland will help implement the test-bed, which will incorporate two new pieces of monitoring software into the platform for community stores management and beds management, with a view to adding further solutions at a later date.

The community stores management software, developed in conjunction with Healthcare Analytics, and Multitone will launch first. The software allows tracking of medical devices or assets in the hospital and community such as pumps, commodes and wheelchairs and will mean better auditing, reduced losses and improved stock management.

The Platform will be powered by a new low power broadband solution being developed by CHIC supported by RF Proximity with funding from Invest NI. Unlike traditional WiFi or GPS it will provide 100% coverage as well as being secure and cost efficient. The Multitone messaging service then allows the platform to securely communicate with staff.

As well as saving time and money by bringing software under one central platform, the data collected from the platform could prove invaluable in terms of further analysis.

Professor Michael Scott of MOIC said ‘we’re delighted to be involved in organising the test-bed for the new technology as it means we can help facilities better manage medical devices and other assets more efficiently. We plan to collate research on all of these initiatives and share this with other hospitals and facilities once the initial work has taken place.’

Dr Tony Stevens, Chief Executive of the Northern Trust said ‘This partnership is fantastic news for Healthcare in Northern Ireland. If we can prove the success at Antrim Area Hospital we can look to integrate within the healthcare system across Northern Ireland and beyond. The beauty of the platform is that a number of software can be integrated, so in future all ward operating services could be operating through one central system with one set of data’.

The platform is just one initiative being worked on by the group to create a digital ‘centre of excellence’ for healthcare.