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IWD 2024: Emerald innovators: Irish women leading the digital health revolution
Thu, 7th Mar 2024

In an era defined by innovation and digitalisation, the island of Ireland, and many Irish women, are at the forefront of revolutionising healthcare delivery, harnessing technology to enhance patient care, improve outcomes, and streamline healthcare processes.

As a global tech and life sciences hub, it’s not a surprise that Enterprise Ireland, Ireland’s national export and investment agency, supports a domestic health-tech sector of over 400 companies, both start-ups and SMEs, which employ over 12,000 people and export over €2B in products and services.

From empowering patients with personalised health management tools to enabling healthcare professionals with cutting-edge diagnostic and treatment solutions, these digital health apps exemplify Ireland's burgeoning role as a global leader in health technology.

A key objective of Enterprise Ireland’s Women in Business Strategy is to grow the number of women becoming entrepreneurs and leaders, and we have set ambitious targets. While there is still work to do, progress is now clear and in 2022, 37 per cent of the 161 start-ups we invested in were women-led, up from just 8 per cent in 2012.

To mark International Women’s Day, we’re highlighting three leading Irish female founders in Femtech, Digital Health, and Cyber.

Dearbhail Ormond originally founded frendo as a B2C app to provide endometriosis sufferers with the right information, tools, and a support network, having suffered with the chronic condition herself. Now the team has developed frendo@work, a first of its kind workplace program designed to give employees greater access to endometriosis awareness and better health equity. Through customised tools and self-management employee benefit programs, frendo improves employee well-being and productivity, helping employers to retain and attract the best talent.

Founded and led by Una Kearns, myPatientSpace provides bespoke Digital Health-as-a-Service platforms to enable healthcare providers deliver better patient experiences and outcomes at scale, whilst improving operational efficiencies. myPatientSpace powers the digitisation of care pathways and supports the establishment of virtual wards, remote patient monitoring, clinic and appointment management, improved communications, and improved patient care through personalised patient journeys across a range of therapeutic areas, including Oncology, Sleep Apnoea, Chronic Kidney Disease and Diabetes. myPatientSpace’s goal is to improve the healthcare experience and outcomes for millions of patients globally.

Founded by Dr Anita Finnegan, Nova Leah, a spin-out of Dundalk Institute of Technology, is a cybersecurity start-up aimed at medical device manufacturers and healthcare providers. Nova Leah offers two cutting-edge products, SelectEvidence and SelectEvaluate, each fortified by artificial intelligence and real-time communication capabilities. These solutions empower manufacturers and healthcare providers to collaboratively identify, analyse, and proactively mitigate emerging cybersecurity risks.

The influence of these apps extends far beyond national borders, shaping the future of healthcare on a global scale. Through ingenuity, perseverance, and a commitment to improving lives, these innovators continue to break new ground, demonstrating the immense potential of technology to revolutionise healthcare delivery. As we look ahead, let us celebrate and support the continued growth and success of these trailblazing women whose contributions are driving positive change for patients and healthcare providers worldwide.