At the Mater Hospital we encourage our staff to get involved in healthcare innovation – whether it’s an idea for a new medical device or a solution for improving service delivery, we support our staff in exploring and developing their ideas to the benefit of our patients. 

Why we value innovation

We believe that to deliver real advances in healthcare technology, hospitals, universities and industry must work together to deliver technology that benefits patients. This ensures that new technologies in healthcare are grounded in clinical reality and solid science. We encourage our staff to engage with industry and academia so that they can influence the development of new technologies and can support these technologies being put into practice.

Mater Hospital - NCAD Innovation and Design Week Project 2017

For the second year, National College of Art and Design (NCAD) Masters students set up a creative design studio in the Mater Hospital for the innovation and design week project. The aim of the project is to bring together the expertise of Mater Hospital staff and the creativity and design skills of the students, to focus on creating solutions to design challenges that exist in the hospital. 

This year, we were delighted to welcome 28 students from two Masters courses in NCAD, the MSc in Medical Device Design and the MA in Interaction Design. Students were given seven different design challenges from around the hospital ranging from improving the design of the hydrotherapy pool, to improving the patient appointment reminder system.

Students spent the week working with our experienced hospital staff to look at and understand these challenges in more detail, and to then develop and test their solutions. The student presented their final design solutions to hospital staff at the end of the week in an inspiring open forum event. We are delighted to say that plans are now in place to develop and use a number of the exciting solutions from this year’s design week.

Some of this year's exciting projects include:

1. Hydrotherapy pool redesign

Hydrotherapy is a type of exercise treatment carried out in a specially-designed warm water pool. It can help a wide range of patients, including those with poor mobility, chronic pain or anxiety.

Students worked with staff in our physiotherapy department to create a new design plan for the hydrotherapy pool area to improve patient's experience and comfort when using our pool. The new design plan includes a better layout of the area which will give patients improved access to the pool area, resulting in a more comfortable and enjoyable experience. 

2. Optiview for clinical photography

Our clinical photography team take specialised photographs of certain patient conditions and illnesses to allow a patient's medical team to track and see how their patient is responding to treatment. 

Students worked with our clinical photography team to design and build a new product to help with taking photographs of sores on patient's heels as these photographs were particularly difficult to take. The new product can be easily carried around by our clinical photography team and uses a comfortable foot rest for patients which allows the photographer to take high quality photographs with minimal stress or discomfort for the patient.

3. Patient and staff wellbeing

Students worked with patients and staff in the hospital to find new ways of promoting physical and mental wellbeing for everyone in the hospital, as they found many people were unaware of the facilities available to them in the hospital or in our local area. 

Solutions included the use of more artwork around the hospital, the use of different displays that highlight opportunities for exercise or to sit outside for some fresh air within the hospital grounds, quiet spaces in the hospital, improving nutrition and to take part in activities like yoga.
The team also proposed developing a helpful mobile phone app for staff that looks at staff working hours and shows wellbeing activities and events that might suit.