AI Is Virus Antidote as Ireland Leverages Data
By Joanne Sweeney  |  Sep 16, 2021
AI Is Virus Antidote as Ireland Leverages Data
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Ireland’s eHealth strategy relies heavily on Big Data and AI analysis. Discover how the power of these technologies has spearheaded the nation’s fight against COVID-19.

GALWAY - Ireland has an ambitious seven-year eHealth strategy which, with a dedicated team of skilled professionals leading it, has received not only the respect of the organization but the funding required to serve a staff of over 100,000 people, with a budget of 21 billion euros.  

Data has been a central cog in the vaccination wheel in Ireland. It has supplied and is still providing senior leaders with the evidence they need to inform about how to deal with community COVID-19 transmission, staffing levels in public hospitals, redirecting resources to communities for walk-in testing and vaccination centers, and the re-opening of society. Every single facet of life in Ireland uses the data powered within Ireland’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) to help inform the next strategic move.  

Azure and Power BI have been used in conjunction with Java and Python programming languages to “collect, pipe and analyze Big Data,” said Mark Bagnell, general manager of OCIO, adding the Azure platform, powered by Microsoft, was built very quickly at the start of the pandemic and this allowed it to combine data from a myriad of systems to solve day-to-day health challenges.

“It was scaled up and used as a central source to pipe in data from a number of sources such as labs and private hospitals. This was then complemented by tools such as Power BI and Qlik to display the data in an easy-to-understand visual dashboard for decision-makers.” 


From Engagement to Efficiency  

The health and safety environment (HSE) eHealth strategy has always played a key role in the transformation of the organization, according to Bagnell. Technology is disrupting how healthcare is delivered in Ireland, an island nation with a population just

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