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Bright Spark National Innovation Awards

The HSE Bright Spark Awards is an initiative that recognises innovative projects that have improved patient care or service delivery in Ireland.

Every year, at Spark Summit, we highlight and honour project teams that have delivered excellence in the Irish healthcare system.

2024 National Innovation Awards

We are now accepting applications for this year's National Innovation Awards.

Have you delivered an innovative project that has positively impacted patient care or service delivery? Or maybe you would like to nominate a project team that is delivering excellence in the Irish Healthcare system?


Bright Spark National Innovation Awards 2023

Learn about Bright Spark 2023 winners and their innovative ideas that contributed to better patient delivery in Ireland.

Dr Patsy Lenane

Skinnovate - transforming management of routine skin conditions

Lead Innovator: Dr Patsy Lenane
Category: CEO's Choice Innovation Award
Project: Skinnovate - transforming management of routine skin conditions across the healthcare ecosystem

Skin concerns make up 15-20% of GP consultations, but GPs often lack Dermatology training. This leads to long waits for hospital Dermatologists, with 3,700 people on the Mater Hospital's list. To help, a new teaching tool and diagnostic aid will be created. Medical students will test it. Then, GPs will be trained using this tool, with input from them. Support systems for GPs will also be set up, offering alternatives to long waiting lists. This way, skin care access and efficiency in primary healthcare can be improved.

Partnering entities: Mater Misericordiae University Hospital Dermatology Department, North Dublin City GP Training Programme, GP practices in CHO9 Primary Care, with pilots in GP practices at Ballymun and Grangegorman Primary Care Centres.

Team: Siobhan Manning (Service Innovation and Design Lead, Mater Transformation), Aileen Igoe (Lean Academy Manager, Mater Transformation), Alan MacFarlane (Interaction Designer, Mater Transformation), Sean Gallagher (Mater Transformation) CHO 9 Primary Care: Dr Mark Wheeler (GP and Head of North Dublin City GP Training Programme), Dr David Gibney (GP Lead, Ballymun Area), Dr Cristina Warren (GP, Grangegorman PCC), and GP trainees on Dermatology rotation

Dr Mervyn Huston

Helping too 'tyred' doctors get home safely

Lead Innovator: Dr Mervyn Huston
Category: Best People and Culture Change Project
Project: Elevating commuting for 'tyred' doctors

Amidst our hospital community, cycling has evolved into a popular commuting option, embracing both convenience and sustainability. Yet, the journey isn't always smooth due to challenges like unplanned maintenance issues such as flat tires and brake adjustments. To enhance the cycling experience, a thoughtful quality improvement project was undertaken at Mater Misericordiae University Hospital (MMUH) Dublin. This initiative serves not only our diligent doctors and staff but also ensures a seamless journey back home.

Team: Mr Dermot Pierse (Consultant Maxillofacial Surgeon), Dr Tomás Breslin (ED Consultant), and Lesley Anastasia Goulding (HSE NDTP)

Cian Hardiman-Ray

Innovative hands-free pathology dictation solution

Lead Innovator: Cian Hardiman-Ray
Category: Best Student Project
Project: Innovative hands-free pathology dictation solution

This initiative addresses a crucial dictation challenge faced by medical scientists and pathologists within Tallaght University Hospital's Cellular Pathology Department. Currently, professionals dictate reports into analog dictaphones using cassette tapes, followed by manual transcription by clerical officers, all while requiring hands-free operations for specimen handling. This innovative solution (a hands-free web application operated through a foot pedal mechanism) empowers staff to seamlessly record, report, dictate, and generate transcriptions, significantly streamlining the entire process.

Team: Sarah Delaney (Chief Medical Scientist Pathology, TUH), Ann Leonard (Manager Laboratory Medicine Innovation Hub), Dr Hannah O’Keeffe (Clinical Innovation Fellow, TUH), and Dr Fernando Perez Tellez (Computing Lecturer, TU Dublin)

Deirdre McNally

Dementia training for An Garda Síochána

Lead Innovator: Deirdre McNally, Integrated Care Team for Older Persons Tallaght
Category: Best Community Project
Project: Dementia training for An Garda Síochána

There is a growing recognition of the importance of educating public-facing services, including our police force, on dementia awareness. This training helps them better understand and meet the unique needs of individuals living with dementia. While Ireland has seen initiatives like the Dementia Elevator course, this project takes an innovative approach by tailoring a specific half-day dementia awareness training course for An Garda Síochána. The course has been designed based on insights from the Integrated Care Programme for Older People (ICPOP) team and is delivered to local Community Policing Teams and Probationary Gardaí.

Team: Jodie Keating and Caitriona McGuinn from ICPOP TUH/CHO7

Dr Petya Bogdanova-Mihaylova

Optimising management of patients with headaches attending emergency department to avoid hospital admission

Lead Innovator: Dr Petya Bogdanova-Mihaylova
Category: Best Admissions Avoidance Project
Project: Optimising management of patients with headaches attending emergency department to avoid hospital admission

Tallaght University Hospital (TUH) stood out with a project focused on improving care for patients with headaches in the emergency department. Their efforts led to significant savings of €240,867 by reducing the need for hospital admissions. This achievement earned them recognition, including the Health Service Executive Bright Spark Award for Best Admissions Avoidance Project and a place among the top 12 projects honoured at the HSE’s Spark Innovation Summit.

Team: Dr Victoria Meighan (Emergency Department TUH)

Dr Ahmed Lutfi

Stryker Blood Quantification Technology (SBQT)

Lead Innovator: Dr Ahmed Lutfi, Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH)
Category: Best Industry Collaboration
Project: Stryker Blood Quantification Technology (SBQT)

Accurate blood loss assessment is crucial, particularly during labour and delivery, as obstetric haemorrhage remains a leading cause of maternal morbidity and mortality worldwide. In Ireland, it stands as the largest contributor to severe maternal morbidity. To address this critical need, a unique device has been developed to assist healthcare professionals in precisely measuring blood loss during childbirth. Spearheaded by Dr Lutfi's team, this innovation aims to transform obstetric care.

To evaluate the effectiveness of this novel tool, a pilot study was conducted at Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) utilizing human blood products. This study, led by Dr Lutfi's team, sought to assess the accuracy and reliability of the obstetric blood loss quantification technology in real-world scenarios.

Team: Professor John R Higgins (Principal Investigator, Consultant), Professor Richard R Greene (Researcher, Consultant), David Eustace (Research Engineer), and Dr Stephen Faul (Research Engineer)

Leanne Grehan

Beaumont care in the home service

Lead Innovator: Leanne Grehan
Category: Best Hospital Project
Project: Beaumont care in the home service

In response to a significant challenge in the healthcare system, a high volume of patients await home care packages for hospital discharge, compounded by a shortage of available carers in the community. This situation leads to delays in patients' timely discharge to their homes and results in prolonged hospital stays for those waiting for Health Service Executive Home Care Agencies. Consequently, there has been an increased reliance on transitional care services due to these delays. To address these pressing issues, the Beaumont Care in the Home Service was established in April 2022. Additionally, a pilot service was developed to tackle the challenges faced in the healthcare system. The primary objectives of these initiatives are to provide safe and supported timely discharge for patients, thereby reducing the length of stay for those waiting for HSE Home Care Agencies. Ultimately, the aim is to minimize the need for transitional care services, ensuring a more efficient and effective healthcare delivery system.

Team: Marie Murray (Director of Nursing)

Dr Sandra Green

The FAIR project - making air quality engaging and informative

Lead Innovator: Dr Sandra Green
Category: Best Public Health Project
Project: The FAIR project - making air quality engaging and informative

In a world where clean air is essential for good health, the challenge lies in raising awareness about local air quality and its direct impact on our well-being. The FAIR Project (fun accessible air quality information resource) was conceived to tackle this vital issue. The solution was a dynamic, animated air quality information resource accompanied by an engaging health messaging video. Displayed on information screens at Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) at Temple Street, this initiative transformed critical air quality information into an enjoyable and easily comprehensible format. The video aimed to capture the attention of patients, parents, and staff; emphasising the importance of clean air for our health.

Team: Joe Gannon, Grainne Dowdall and Emma Lynam (CHI). Hugh Baxter, Dermot Burke, and Pat Kenny (EPA/Life Emerald). Dr Keith Ian Quintyne. Irish Doctors for the Environment.

Dr Pádraig O'Connell

Identifying Keratoconus using an automated machine learning model

Lead Innovator: Dr Pádraig O'Connell
Category: Best Doctor-led Project
Project: Identifying Keratoconus using an automated machine learning model

Keratoconus can result in irregular astigmatism and a significant decline in visual acuity. Current machine learning (ML) models using computerised keratography are costly, time-consuming, and demand experienced developers to achieve accurate results. The solution devised was to identify Keratoconus using an automated machine learning model at Mater University Hospital.

Team: Mouayad Masalkhi (medical student) and Dr Brian Woods (Ophthalmology)

Helen McHale

Establishment of an IRIS clinic

Lead Innovator: Helen McHale
Category: Best Nursing/Midwifery Led Project
Project: Establishment of an IRIS (Hyperemesis Gravidarum) clinic

Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) is a severe form of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, which is often overlooked and untreated. This condition can have detrimental effects on the health of both mothers and their babies. The project involved the establishment and evaluation of the IRIS clinic, a pioneering initiative in Ireland at The National Maternity Hospital. The IRIS clinic is the first dedicated facility in the country to assess and treat HG comprehensively. It brought together a team of dietitians, midwives, mental health professionals, pharmacists, and obstetricians with extensive experience in HG to provide comprehensive care to affected women. At the IRIS clinic, women receive anti-emetics, intravenous fluids, snacks, and comfort packs, addressing their nutritional and medical needs. Through regular outpatient appointments, they ensured continuity of care, reducing unnecessary hospital admissions and enhancing overall patient experience.

Team: Sinead Curran (Dietitian Manager), Melanie Bennet (Midwife), Dr Sarah Louise Killeen, PhD, RD (Dietitian), Lucille Sheehy (Clinical Practice Development Co-Ordinator), Jean Doherty (Research Assistant/Midwife), Dr Suzanne Murphy (Patient Advocate), Lillian Murtagh (Dietitian), Dr Eileen O'Brien (Principal Investigator/School of Biological and Health Science, Technological University Dublin)

Ireland’s first 'hybrid' Aphasia conversation group

Lead Innovator: Dr Louise Sterritt
Category: Best HSCP Lead Project
Project: Ireland’s first 'hybrid' Aphasia conversation group

This project involves Ireland’s first hybrid Aphasia conversation group - an Aphasia cafe. Aphasia is an acquired language impairment, primarily associated with stroke. The group is based in Donegal and meets every fortnight, having begun in October 2022. Set up by Donegal's Speech and Language Therapy Department in collaboration with an Aphasia Advocate, the meetings alternate between in-person face-to-face meetings in the County Library in Letterkenny and online/virtual meetings using the HSE's Webex software. One hundred people a year in Donegal experience Aphasia and this group addresses the Activity and Participation levels of the World Health Organisation's ICF model.

Team: Larry Masterson (Aphasia Advocate), Denise Duggan (SLT Manager, Donegal) and Rory Kavanagh, (CHN Manager, Donegal North)

Dr Jack Collins

Training for One: Emergency Front of Neck Access (eFONA) simulator training

Lead Innovators: Dr Jack Collins and Dr Chris Soraghan, Anaesthesiology/Design Innovation Lab, St James’s Hospital
Category: Best Design Led Project
Project: Training for One: Emergency Front of Neck Access (eFONA) Simulator Training

Anaesthetic doctors, ENT surgeons, designers, and engineers worked together to create a scalpel cricothyroidotomy simulator. This tool helps trainee doctors learn how to perform emergency surgical airways, saving lives.

Team: Doire Mullen (Design Lab Intern/ NCAD), Conall Casey (Snr Design Engineering Technician) and Dr David Brinkman (ENT Surgeon, SJH)