Smart D8

Smart D8 is a collaborative initiative with the purpose of investigating how new and innovative approaches can be used to improve citizens’ health and wellbeing in Dublin 8.

— Addressing real world issues for local residents since October 2022.
— Twelve pilots to date; five from an initial public call in 2021, three from within the Smart D8 consortium in 2022 and four from a second public all in 2023.
Smart D8 is a one-of-a-kind project where local residents are going to see tangible benefits through innovation in the health and wellbeing that our programmes will generate.”
Fiach Mac Conghail, CEO, The Digital Hub

The Smart D8 District brings together local authorities, academia, healthcare, local community and industry in a partnership model to address real world issues.

The Digital Hub, Smart Dublin, Dublin City Council and St. James’s Hospital are joined by Tyndall National Institute, St Patrick’s Mental Health Services, Trinity Research & Innovation, Trinity Translational Medicine Institute, National College of Art & Design, Guinness Enterprise Centre and Health Innovation Hub Ireland and the HSE as partners in this unique initiative.

The programme applies a people-centric approach, with the engagement and active participation of the local community at its core.

In late 2020, the first Community Survey initiative was launched to capture the needs and priorities of the local community. The findings formed the foundation of the Smart D8 programme — initial themes identified in consultation with the community include mental health, the impact of Covid-19, population health, environment, and positive and healthy ageing.

In early 2021 the first call for pilot projects to focus on Covid-19 Impact, Mental Health and Population Health was made. Five successful projects were announced, from 37 applications:

  1. Civic Dollars — A community currency to encourage use of public parks and drive better health outcomes for the community, led by Dublin City Council and Moai Digital founder Stephen McPeake. The project uses a smartphone app to reward visitors with Civic Dollars for spending time in participating Dublin 8 parks, which can then be exchanged for goods and services from local businesses or gifted to local community organisations. Anonymised data also gives the council feedback needed to understand what communities want from the parks.
  2. Heart of our City — In partnership with the Irish Heart Foundation and Novartis, Heart of our City is a population health program that will focus on heart health in Dublin 8. This pilot project will connect people in Dublin 8 with a range of resources to support their cardiovascular health, building on existing social prescribing initiatives in the locality.
  3. Virtual Reality Meditation Platform — In partnership with SolasVR, this project will pilot a Virtual Reality Meditation platform in the community. SolasVR enables a micro-break to allow the users to create some time and space away from events or situations that are impacting them.
  4. Ways to Wellbeing: Learning from Locals — In partnership with St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services, Ways to Wellbeing is a project that will support students in learning about mental health and wellbeing through engaging with the lives of the older community in Dublin 8. The project is designed for students of both primary and secondary schools in the locality.
  5. Your Portal – a health educational initiative, aimed at enabling patients to increase access to their health data. Enabled by a partnership between Learnovate at Trinity College Dublin, and Saint Patricks Mental Health Services (SPMHS), Your Portal enabled patients to increase access to their health data. With service use of digital patient portals strong, but clinician engagement slow (but gaining momentum), this project aimed to generate insights into how digital patient portals could maintain patient engagement, and improve adoption in line with evidenced base research and best practice.

In early 2022 a second call for pilots was made from within the Smart D8 consortium and a further three pilot projects were chosen:

  1. ehealth exhibition (Trinity Translational Medicine Institute, the National College of Art and Design and Trinity College Dublin)
  2. Bee8 (The Digital Hub, Tyndall National Institute, St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services and the National College of Art and Design)
  3. District Health Data repository (Trinity College Dublin and St. James’s Hospital)

In March 2023, a further public call for pilots was launched. This call focused on three themes: Positive and Healthy Ageing, Connected Patient in the Community and Population Health.  A record number of applications were received, and four new projects were selected:

  1. Menopause and the City from Dr Louise Fitzgerald of Grafton Medical Practice: this pilot is seeking to create a better educational ecosystem around menopause health for both individuals as well as families and friends. A project with truly scalable potential, Dr Louise Fitzgerald is aiming for Dublin 8 to become the centre of the first city-wide approach to positive menopause education and support.
  2. Brace from Conor Motyer: Brace is a community-based recovery app which seeks to assist patients who are undergoing physical rehabilitation. With an added focus on the mental wellness aspect of rehabilitation, Brace uses exercise tracking, gamification and community support to improve both recovery engagement and mental health outcomes arising from research that has found that rehab program completion rates can be as low as 50%.
  3. MoveAhead from Dr Jamie McGann and Dr Johann Issartel: MoveAhead is based on years of clinical experience from both founders, as well as practical research carried out with the GAA which has found that children’s movement skills are deteriorating in line with increased use of screens and technology. MoveAhead is the world’s first motion tracking and movement analytics platform built specifically for children, which informs games to assist with improving children’s movement skills.
  4. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) Identifier from Dr Brian Kent/St James’s Hospital: OSA Identifier is seeking to reduce the wait time for a sleep apnea diagnosis, which is currently up to two years. OSA Identifier has developed an app to provide at-home data which can be reviewed by clinical specialists and both inform and speed up diagnosis and treatment options for sleep apnea.

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