Launching the Rotunda Innovation Hub at the Rotunda Innovation Day. (L-R) Les Corbett, Health and Safety Manager, Rotunda Hospital, Dr Richard Drew, Consultant Microbiologist, Rotunda Hospital, Dr Joanna Griffin, Director of Research, Rotunda Hospital and Prof Fergal Malone, Master of the Rotunda Hospital.
The Innovation Hub is a new initiative to foster innovation and creativity in tackling health care problems.
Picture; Maura Hickey.

The Rotunda Hospital launches new ‘Innovation Hub’ to incubate ground breaking ideas to help the care of mothers and babies

Building on the Hospital’s history of innovation and international reputation in Maternal, Newborn and Gynaecological care, the Rotunda will establish an Innovation Hub responsible for supporting innovative ideas that can improve patient care and hospital processes.

The Rotunda Innovation Hub will function as a multidisciplinary virtual department within the hospital responsible for supporting innovative ideas that can improve patient care and hospital processes. The Rotunda Innovation Hub will nurture progressive ideas from staff and patients that meet the triple aim of improving the patient experience, optimising outcomes and reducing costs.
Those best able to identify areas of improvement are those who work directly with patients and families- The Hospital’s nurses and midwives, doctors, administrative staff and allied healthcare professional. The Innovation Hub will aim to support the development of innovative ideas from Rotunda staff, enabling them to brainstorm, prototype and test new ideas across departments. Regular forums & hackathons will help generate ideas and brainstorm solutions.

The Innovation Hub will establish links with potential funders and commercial partners in technology and health research domains, and will work on commercialising and applying the Rotundas research outputs.

The Innovation Day on the 6th of September, held in the historic Pillar Room in the Rotunda Hospital, invited healthcare professionals, innovation experts, entrepreneurs, industry partners and patients to join forces and promote innovation in maternal and newborn care. The aim of the event was to foster creative, innovative thinking among Rotunda Hospital staff and partners and provide a networking platform for healthcare professionals and industry experts.
A morning of inspirational presentations by healthcare entrepreneurs & innovation support organisations, exploring how healthcare innovation ideas can come to life was followed by a hackathon workshop where attendees teamed up to tackle specific ‘Challenge Areas’ and develop innovative solutions in maternal and newborn care.
Some of the challenges included the very simple issue of improving signage in the hospital to help patients, visitors and staff navigate the building more easily. The age of the hospital and its warren-like floor plan makes it difficult to navigate, but also difficult to plan a comprehensive signage system.

Other challenges focused on a technical problem, like, how we can help in a situation where a mother (and her family) and her newborn are separated and unable to visit each other, due to their condition. Bonding and closeness are very important for the wellbeing of both the newborn and the mother, and the groups tackling this subject focused on using future technologies to bridge this gap. Other teams worked on new methods of securing endotracheal tubes (breathing tubes) in babies being treated in the NICU, in a way that is comfortable and safe, and how we can keep track of the location of medical equipment in the hospital.

Other problems took a more service based approach, like how we can more efficiently manage incoming calls to the Hospital switchboard, and how we can improve the reception and admission of emergency cases.

An impressive range of creative solutions were put forward by the 8 workshop teams, all of which showed great merit and innovative approach. The ideas and solutions generated during the workshop will be further reviewed for potential development through the structures of the newly launched Innovation Hub. The workshop was the first of more events to come that will promote brainstorming and ideation of innovative healthcare solutions in the Rotunda.

Prof Fergal Malone, Master of the Rotunda, said ‘This novel Innovation Hub approach is a further example of the Rotunda’s leadership in solving common problems in challenges in maternity, newborn and gynaecologic care for families in our community. Developed organically from within, the Innovation Hub draws on the best and brightest ideas from Rotunda staff and patients and has provided practical, real-world solutions to common clinical problems. We anticipate that the Innovation Hub will continue to grow from strength to strength in advancing care for our mothers, babies and families

Dr Joanna Griffin, Director of Research, said ‘The Rotunda Innovation Hub aims to cultivate an enthusiasm for innovation among all our staff. We are confident that the ideas and concepts that emerge from the hub will lead to improved patient experiences and outcomes.