IMSTA Annual Industry Medtech Awards Ceremony & Dinner

Dr Rhona Mahony
The IMSTA Annual Industry Medtech Awards Ceremony & Dinner took place on Thursday 3rd October at the Aviva Stadium in Ballsbridge.

The event, sponsored this year by Toyota Ireland, was attended by 180 manufacturers, distributors, stakeholders, clinicians and representatives from the wider industry to celebrate the outstanding contribution made by companies and individuals to the development of better healthcare in Ireland. These much coveted awards are a tangible recognition of best practice and how initiatives generated by IMSTA members can have a very positive impact on patient outcomes. Toyota, being technological pioneers themselves, were keen to point out that IMSTA’s technical innovation culture is very close to their own core values.

The evening kicked off (pun intended) with a special guest appearance by Olympic, World and European Champion Katie Taylor at the welcome reception. Katie was very personable and happily mixed with guests before being interviewed by the MC for the evening, Today FM’s Anton Savage. She gave a sparkling display, as ever.

The keynote speaker was the dynamic and much sought after Dr Rhona Mahony, Master of the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street. Dr Mahony started off by bringing the audience back to 1963 and the birth of JFK and Jacqueline Kennedy’s son Patrick, who sadly didn’t survive a slightly premature birth compared with today’s survival rates for babies born as early as 16 weeks premature, i.e. at 24 weeks gestation. With the building of a new National Maternity Hospital on the St Vincent’s University Hospital campus in Elm Park immanent, Dr Mahony was well positioned to share with the audience her vision of what health care for the mother and baby could look like in the future. She explained that even today babies can be operated on in the womb and drugs can be administered to the foetus to assist specific organ development to improve the baby’s chances of survival after birth. Dr Mahony referred to the widely held expectation that genomic studies will lead to advances in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, and to new insights in many fields of biology, including human evolution. She painted a picture where the next generation will keep their own genomic material in their fridge at home. She had everyone spellbound and was an excellent choice as keynote speaker.

Alan Markey, Chair of IMSTA, referred to Katie Taylor’s singular focus on success and Rhona Mahony’s vision of the future when describing the current environment for medical technology goods and service providers. He said that IMSTA is an innovation driven industry and the commercialisation of this innovation in Ireland is critical to improved patient outcomes. He said IMSTA’s mission as a trade association, is to promote the benefits of medical technology and ensure that patients in Ireland have access to the most clinically and cost effective medical technologies available. Innovative products and services have the potential to significantly lower treatment costs.

“The application of innovative medical technology facilitates earlier diagnosis, reduces hospital stays, lowers infection rates, shortens rehabilitation times etc., but it has been a challenge to quantify this in terms of healthcare spend – perhaps because treatment costs are not that transparent spread across so many different budget holders.”

Mr Markey believes that significant benefits can be realised by focusing cost containment efforts on treatment pathways and patient outcomes instead of focusing on the products and suppliers.

“Industry must continue to innovate, to redesign, to find new, more efficient and more effective ways that will ensure a continuous improvement in patient care”. “But we can’t do this in isolation. It’s time for industry to be seen as a strategic partner in healthcare delivery. It’s time for government to realise the wealth of knowledge and experience industry can bring to the table. This is the Future of our Industry and the awards are but a small example of the contribution IMSTA member companies make on a daily basis to healthcare delivery in Ireland.”

He looked forward to greater collaboration between industry and government to realise the full potential that medtech suppliers can bring to health care delivery.

Award winners this year included Bernard Collins, who was presented with the Outstanding Contribution to Industry Award in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to the development of the biomedical industry in Ireland. The Most Innovative Product was won by Medtronic Ireland for its Interstim Therapy; Best Improvement in Patient Safety Award was won by Synthes/J&J for its tracking solution for orthopaedic loan sets; Health Promotion Award was won by the Cardiac Services/SISK training and education team; and Best Service Company was won by Oxygen Care for their premium after sales service and support network. Finally, Community and Social Awareness Award (CSR) was won by Mark Keating, Whitewater, who is currently on a solo charity cycle from Dublin to Belgrade and back, approx. 6,000 km, to help the lives of the very sick children both here in Ireland and in the former Yugoslavia. More details of the Award Winners are on the IMSTA website www.imsta.ie.