NUI Galway ICU video link system wins National Impact Award

Frank Kirrane (UHG) and Leonie Cullen (UHG). Photo: Aoife Morrissey, Saolta Communications

Project connects patients with their loved ones against a backdrop of Covid-19 restrictions



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4 December 2020 | 0

A project that connects intensive care patients connect with their loved ones on visits to hospitals won a Knowledge Transfer Ireland Impact Award for NUI Galway.  

The university worked with industry partners Cisco and IBM to deliver a state-of-the-art video call system, ICU FamilyLink, specifically for the intensive care unit (ICU) at University Hospital Galway (UHG). The project won the Knowledge Transfer Ireland Impact Award, in the category for Covid-19 response. 

When hospital visiting restrictions were introduced in early March, the ICU team UHG appreciated that it was going to be very difficult to keep families and patients in the ICU updated and connected, particularly where family members may be in physical isolation in different locations. To address these challenges, they reached out to their academic partners in NUI Galway, who in turn reached out to industry contacts in Galway and beyond. 




NUI Galway, Cisco and IBM assembled a team and, working closely with the ICU and Clinical Engineering and IT teams in UHG, developed a video call system tailored for the ICU setting. The system runs on the hospital’s Cisco Enterprise Wireless Network using Cisco Webex Meetings software and Cisco Webex Devices donated from Cisco’s software development office in Oranmore.  

The Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI) Impact Awards recognise and showcase the success in knowledge transfer carried out in Irish higher education institutions and publicly funded research organisations for the wider benefit of the economy and society at large. 

Speaking about the win, David Murphy, director of technology transfer and innovation at NUI Galway, said: “This achievement is a positive reflection of the talent within the university, industry and hospital. It is also a reflection of the commitment to community in a time when it was so important to those affected by the pandemic. As a place well-known for collaboration and creativity, and as a global medtech hub, our research and innovation community has been to the fore in looking at innovations and insights that can support the response to the Covid-19 crisis.  

KTI director and chair of the judging panel, Dr Alison Campbell, added: “The finalists and winners of these awards are real examples of the compelling work being undertaken in the third level to support innovation and to help Irish companies thrive in challenging markets, delivering benefit to the economy and for people.”

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