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Northwell Health: Challenging the Status Quo with Irish Medtech Innovation

The largest healthcare provider in New York State, Northwell Health, is benefitting from solutions that Irish companies deliver to enhance the customer experience and improve efficiency and productivity, thanks to a partnership signed with Enterprise Ireland in December 2016.

Northwell Health has 22 hospitals, 600 outpatient facilities, and cares for more than 1.8 million patients a year in the New York area and beyond. President and Chief Executive Michael Dowling is highly focused on innovation and trying new technologies.

“I tell my employees all the time, the biggest competitor we have is not other organizations, it is the status quo,” says Dowling. “If we are not willing to adapt, we are losing. A lot of the solutions Irish companies deliver can give us competitive edge in this regard.”

Since the partnership with Enterprise Ireland was signed, Northwell Health has reviewed over 50 Irish companies and has signed deals with two, Technopath Clinical Diagnostics and Salaso Health Solutions. There are several others which Dowling feels have real potential.

Technopath has developed a first-of-its-kind consolidated immunochemistry testing product. Consolidation enables clinical laboratories to significantly reduce handling requirements, reclaim storage and minimize waste, leading to a more efficient quality control process.

Northwell Health has signed a 50/50 joint venture agreement with Technopath with a view to promoting the Irish companies’ offering to labs all over the US.

“The solutions Technopath has developed have dramatically helped us to improve the quality, efficiency and cost effectiveness of our laboratory quality control processes,” said Dowling. “Ours is one of the biggest labs run by a health system in the US. We perform more than 30 million tests and analyze 200,000 surgical specimens a year,” said Dowling.

Salaso Health Solutions, which is based in Co Kerry, has developed a platform which allows patients to use their smartphones or tablets to access and interact with high-definition video exercises prescribed for them by their clinicians.

Northwell Health has also signed a strategic partnership with them. This builds on an existing contract it had with the Irish company to provide online care management services to stroke survivors and patients with movement disorders and other neurological conditions.

Under the agreement, Northwell Health is investing in Salaso Health Solutions so it can develop its solution further, expanding the scope of the online rehabilitation care to patients with cancer, COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder] and other medical conditions. The Salaso app helps improve what a patient does at home after they have been treated by a doctor.

Until two years ago, Dowling didn’t appreciate the scale of the entrepreneurial developments that have occurred in Ireland.

“I spent a couple of days going around to a lot of companies with Enterprise Ireland and I was completely blown away,” said Dowling. “The capabilities and competency that exist in Ireland, especially in areas such as Medtech, are phenomenal. In my view, this is down to the education system and the innovative spirit, personality and knowledge of the people.”

One of the areas where Irish Medtech companies are particularly strong is digital health, according to Dowling.

“Everything is becoming more democratized because of the access consumers have to mobile phones. We do business with other countries, but there is nothing as expansive as what Irish companies are doing in the whole digital health and customer experience space,” said Dowling. “The consumer is the biggest change agent in healthcare. We have to deliver what the consumer wants; the consumer will not accept what I would like to give them. The innovations coming out of Ireland fit right in with that.”

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