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Irish researcher wins major acclaim for 'lifesaving' medical app

It’s designed to help doctors on the ground in remote parts of Africa.

File photo of a doctor and his patient.
File photo of a doctor and his patient.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

SIOBHÁN O’CONNOR, a PhD student at UCC, has won a prestigious TEDMED Frontline Scholarship for a smartphone app which gives “lifesaving support” to medical professionals in remote Africa.

The Supporting LIFE Android app offers healthcare workers in rural parts of the continent a “clinical decision support toolkit,” helps them assess and triage patients, and features a training platform to educate locals.

To give it its full name, “Supporting Low-cost Interventions for Disease Control”, involved a team of researchers and developers, led Dr John O’Donoghue, from UCC and Imperial College London (ICL).

The app was developed by UCC software engineer Dr Timothy O’Sullivan.

TEDMED Frontline Scholar_SOC3filter Siobhán O'Connor Source: UCC

O’Connor herself is a first-year doctoral student in the Health Informations Systems Research Centre at UCC.

TEDMED is a US-based community of researchers, academics and entrepreneurs focused on using information and technology in the service of medicine and health.

O’Connor, from Kanturk, Co Cork, will now have the honour of showcasing and presenting the app at TEDMED’s annual conference in Washington DC, this September.

In a statement, she attributed the plaudits to the “novelty” of the app, and to her own varied background in nursing and informatics.

A previous version of this article cited Siobhán O’Connor as the developer of the Supporting LIFE app. She is a researcher. Dr Timothy O’Sullivan was the app’s developer.

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Dan MacGuill

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