Meet Prof. Martin Curley, the Director of Digital Transformation and Open Innovation at the Health Service Executive (HSE), helping to enable digital transformation in Ireland’s Health Service. Under his leadership, the HSE Digital Transformation group works to build health system-wide digital capability, capacity, and competence.
An electronic engineer by profession, Martin’s career started with Philips Lab in Eindhoven, Netherlands. Later he worked on IoT systems in factories of General Electronics and Intel, well before the term Internet of Things was coined. At that point of time, he specifically focussed on developing and deploying Digital Manufacturing Solutions and realized these could be particularly applicable for the Health Care industry, where variability plays a major role.
He has also lectured and spoken at various global universities and conferences and been in boardrooms across the planet.
Before starting HSE, Martin also served as the Senior Vice President and Group Head for Global Digital Practice at Mastercard.
The Inception Story
Martin started his journey at HSE Digital Transformation to transform Ireland’s healthcare using Digital Technology. Using the Design Practices documented in his book on Open Innovation 2.0, he understood one could use digitization to drive a fundamental change in healthcare, which was at least a decade behind other industries.
Martin states, “I noted and observed that the combination of exponential digital technologies, the information-intensive nature of healthcare – healthcare is an information business and the use of an exponential innovation methodology that I developed (OI2) would and is creating supranormal or 10X returns repeatedly and predictably.”
He explains that it translates into much better outcomes, with lower costs, better experience, and improved life qualities. Starting to become known as the ‘Curleys law,’ the methodology’s application produces breakthrough 10X solutions and outcomes. For example, a digital heart care at home solution has resulted in a 10X reduction of hospitalizations and 10X improvement in monitoring, all of which can be achieved at a rate of 2.5X less than the cost of the current solution. Remote respiratory monitoring solutions can keep respiratory patients out of hospital at a cost which is 30X cheaper than admitting a patient to an acute hospital.
Path Breaking Services
Within Ireland, Martin envisioned a unique new Digital Healthcare system, which can be described as a health and wellness system. He and his colleagues in the Irish Digital Health Leadership Steering Group and ecosystem envisioned a new approach designed to keep people fit and well and detect any chronic disease very early. This kind of health system is unique from and in contrast to the existing healthcare system/paradigm, which works like an illness system, where chronic diseases account for up to 90% of all costs and 70% of all deaths.
HSE Digital Transformation has also created a ‘health elevator,’ which integrated various products and services from eleven companies to deliver a completely new proactive health and wellness service for the Irish citizens. The health elevator focuses on moving healthcare closer to home, where patients are empowered to improve their self-care and live healthier. It also aims to transition from a reactive care pathway to a proactive approach with ongoing management and preventative health screening by utilizing remote monitoring and real-time information.
“You have to take the opportunity of a lifetime in the lifetime of the opportunity. Dream, Dare, Do!”
Additionally, the ‘Oceans Eleven’ arrangement helps Irish citizens with a rapid 15-minute health assessment, a personal electronic health record, a computer algorithm-assisted medical report, a fitness device like Fitbit, a wellness app, and a holistic digital health therapeutic. Patients can avail all of these at around the cost of a PCR test, which in return provides the much-needed information, therapeutics, and nudges to create a fit and healthy population. The Ocean Eleven arrangement includes HSE Digital Transformation, Careplus Pharmacies, Google, Fitbit, AWS, PatientsKnowBest, Full Health Medical, Eurofins, Roche, Trimedika and Checkpoint.
Keeping the Team Motivated
As the leader of HSE, Martin tries to keep his team motivated by providing them with a compelling vision that entirely aligns with an individual’s values and business skills. He tries to empower and encourage as much as possible rather than commanding and controlling.
However, for Martin, it’s not only about motivating the team, but it’s also about motivating the ecosystem, and he is delighted that the ecosystem HSE Digital Transformation has built has beautifully aligned around the vision and strategy of ‘Stay Left, Shift Left- 10X’.
“Many senior leaders and organizations from across the ecosystem such as Dr John Sheehan, John Shaw, Prof Richard Costello, Prof. Anthony Staines and Dr Donal Bailey have self-selected into the ecosystem, and we mutually motivate each other as we strive for 10X interventions which compound and mutually reinforce each other.“- he stated. Together they founded the Irish Digital Health Leadership Steering group (IDHLSG) to accelerate the Digital Health transition in Ireland.
Picture of the Future
As an organization, HSE Digital Transformation and the IDHLSG would like to create an entirely new Digital Health and Wellness system that would help extend the lives of every Irish citizen and create a model and a platform that could be adopted and improved by other countries worldwide. Martin and his colleagues aspire to make Ireland a European Health leader by 2025 and one of the top 10 global health systems by 2030.
The organisation believes that data plays a major role in fighting modern-day diseases, and it will set the challenge to add 2.5 years of life for every citizen over the next five years. “Like Moore’s Law, Curley’s Law will ultimately come up against the laws of biology and physics, but adding an extra ten years of quality life to every global citizen over the next two decades would be an amazing accomplishment we could all be proud of.‘- states Martin.
“We plan to achieve this by deploying a digital health platform centered around the patient/citizen, which proves seamless access across the care continuum to citizens, carers, clinicians, and academics alike. Overlayed on this will be a complete and ever-growing portfolio of IoT devices, digital therapeutics, and AI solutions that provide insights, nudges, tools, and diagnoses to help keep people healthy and detect/intervene with early signs of chronic diseases.”
This solution will fully focus on all the factors of health, which include lifestyle, genetics, mental health, environment, and healthcare systems. Eventually, Ireland will have a closed-loop digital health system operating at a national, population, health facility, and individual level to optimize health and wellness strategically and in real-time to create a true health learning system.