Health and Technology ‘Could Help Boost The Economy’

More collaboration between the health and technology sectors could create a significant boost to the Northern Ireland economy, a new report has said.

The Economy And Jobs Initiative Task And Finish Group document has said that the health and social care (HSC) sector spends almost £4.5bn annually, provides for 9% of the workforce and generates almost 10% of total economic output.

Northern Ireland is already home to pioneering firms like drug discovery company Almac, Heartsine, which pioneered the global use of defibrillators and Andor, which makes tiny cameras for use in diagnostics.

The Group was established in February 2013 to identify opportunities to support economic development through the HSC sector with figures from business and the medical world, including Dave Whitlinger, of eHealthCollaborative in New York.

They recommended a new ‘health and life sciences strategy’ for Northern Ireland to increase levels of innovation and commercialisation of medical products and technology, to increase collaboration with private sector firms and academia and to identify new ICT trends.

It was also suggested that a health innovation infrastructure be established. The report was launched by Health Minister Edwin Poots and Economy Minister Arlene Foster.