News Release 

Pandemic to accelerate adoption of electronic patient portal for epilepsy

RCSI

Dublin, Friday, 24 July 2020: The COVID-19 pandemic is a catalyst to accelerate the adoption of technology-enabled patient care for epilepsy, according to a new study published in Epilepsia.

Building on the HSE eHealth Ireland funded Epilepsy Lighthouse Project, the research was led by FutureNeuro, the SFI Research Centre for Chronic and Rare Neurological Diseases, hosted by RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences. Funding for the project has continued through the Health Research Board (HRB) Applied Partnership Award.

The study describes an electronic patient portal for people with epilepsy that has been developed for patients in Ireland. Named PiSCES (providing individualised services and care for people with epilepsy), the portal is linked to the Irish National Epilepsy Electronic Patient Record.

PiSCES gives people access to their medical record documenting their epilepsy care anywhere there is an internet connection using a smartphone, tablet device or desktop computer. Users of PiSCES can access their clinic visit summaries and tools to report outcomes, such as frequency of seizures. The portal also allows people to track epilepsy care goals and send secure messages directly to their healthcare provider.

"Our work on the development of PiSCES patient portal for epilepsy began before the COVID-19 crisis with the aim of facilitating better patient and family-centred epilepsy care by improving the link between people with epilepsy and their clinicians," commented Mary Fitzsimons, eHealth Lead at FutureNeuro, RCSI.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the urgency to accelerate much needed health service reform to implement innovations such as electronic patient portals. PiSCES has the capability to transform out-patient care for people with epilepsy, by maximizing health service resources that may be constrained in the aftermath of the pandemic.

"In the aftermath of COVID-19, it is highly unlikely that the healthcare sector will return to a 'business as usual' way of delivering services as we knew them previously. The pandemic is has been a catalyst for change in how patient care will be conducted in the future, delivering technology-enables care that is more responsive to individual patient needs and preferences," she said.

The research was carried out in collaboration with the Health Service Executive (HSE), Beaumont Hospital, St James's Hospital, DCU and Ergo. Dr Kevin Power, Research Engineer at RCSI and Futureneuro is first author on the paper.

Brendan Dunleavy, Head of Software Development Ergo Group said, "We are delighted to be part of this group that looks to utilise cloud and web technology to help support people with epilepsy. This is another step on the path to a true patient-centric approach to delivering acute clinical care services.

We have seen that COVID-19 has been an accelerator for technology adoption across industries and healthcare has been no exception. We look forward to seeing this work being used as an exemplar of empowering people with epilepsy."

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About FutureNeuro

FutureNeuro is the SFI Research Centre for Chronic and Rare Neurological Diseases. We aim to change the patient journey through research informed by the needs of both patients and neurologists. This includes developing rapid and accurate tools for diagnosis, the development of therapies to correct damaged brain networks, technologies to enable patients to monitor their own health and well-being, and linking this to Ireland's national imaging, diagnostics and eHealth infrastructure.

We are multi-disciplinary, inter-institutional and working with industry, patient organisations and the health service to transform the lives of patients in Ireland and worldwide.

About RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences

Ranked number one globally for Good Health and Well-being in the Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings 2020, RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences is an international not-for-profit university, with its headquarters in Dublin.

RCSI is exclusively focused on education and research to drive improvements in human health worldwide. It is among the top 250 universities worldwide in the THE World University Rankings (2020) and its research is ranked first in Ireland for citations. RCSI has been awarded Athena Swan Bronze accreditation for positive gender practice in higher education.

Visit the RCSI MyHealth Expert Directory to find the details of our experts across a range of healthcare issues and concerns. Recognising their responsibility to share their knowledge and discoveries to empower people with information that leads them to better health, these clinicians and researchers are willing to engage with the media in their area of expertise.

About Ergo

Ergo has fine-tuned over 27 years' experience at the coalface of change and innovation to become a world-class IT partner.

From award-winning expertise around the Microsoft stack, to cloud solutions, IT Resourcing and our Managed Print Services, Ergo offers a broad portfolio of products and services for local and global deployment.

Their Custom Software Solutions team focuses on building bespoke software that is easy and intuitive to use. Their highly skilled team continues to innovate, leveraging the latest DevOps methodologies and cloud technologies in an end-to end service that spans consultancy, design, implementation and ongoing support and management. These objectives are the foundation for diverse and highly secure, scalable and resilient solutions that Ergo has delivered to a wide range of industries.

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