Lessons from healthcare in Ireland for the Public Sector

Kieran McCorry

Kieran McCorry

National Technology Officer

Read Time, 3 min.

Collaborating with the ESRI to better understand the potential impact of digital solutions in Irish healthcare. 

On 23 June 2021the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and Microsoft Ireland released a new research report that details the potential impact of digital solutions in healthcare, with a specific look at experiences in Ireland within the Health Service Executive (HSE). 

Perhaps the key finding—at least of most broad relevance for the Public Sector—is that a lack of sophistication in IT systems and data infrastructure were an initial barrier to a rapid response to the challenges that the COVID-19 emergency presented. However, despite the challenges, the HSE moved to immediately build the required tools. 

And they built them quickly. Brand new systems were built on the concept of a single, Microsoft Azure public cloud data lake that could provide a single source of truth, with data coming from over 30 other data systems, including testing facilities, contract tracing centres, and critical care bed data. Collecting all relevant data made it easier to execute a strategy of data-driven, evidence-based decision-making. Microsoft Dynamics 365 was the platform used for the rapid development of a system that enabled clinicians and contact tracers to engage with COVID-19 cases. Power Apps was used to allow laboratories to report daily testing numbers and case numbers. A reporting dashboard developed with Microsoft BI provided regular updates to allow better clinical decision-making. And a Healthcare Chatbot used Microsoft AI technology with input from clinicians helped ease the workload on the HSE and provided valuable information to citizens.  

All of these systems have three characteristics in common: 

  1. They rely on data sources for their operation; 
  2. They are all built on the public cloud; and 
  3. They were all built in a matter of days rather than the months that might be required for traditional on-premise systems. 

Although the ESRI report is focused on healthcare, the findings are relevant well beyond the health domain. Digital, and especially cloud-based technologies have become a crucial part of the delivery of citizen services for the Public Sector.  

Cloud-based systems can be developed extremely rapidly, modified quickly, and scaled extensively. While it is laudable that they can be relied upon in the early stages of a crisis, it is incumbent upon the Public Sector to craft a future digital strategy that exploits all the benefits that public cloud-based systems have to offer. These include providing the best value for money, always having the most up-to-date technology available, and, of course, offering the most reliable and secure systems hosting for our country’s most important and critical citizen services. 

As we hopefully get to the other side of this very challenging year and a half, we should reflect upon the role that technology has played as we reactively responded to its challenges and look to the role that technology should play proactively to establish a future with the best possible platforms for the delivery of the most effective and efficient citizen services.  

(Click here for a summary of the key findings from the report.) 

Improve patient experiences and enable personalized care

Healthcare insights and solutions to help empower your care teams and improve operational outcomes

Discover more related articles per industry:


  • Northern Ireland moves to cloud-first education

    Northern Ireland moves to cloud-first education

    Northern Ireland moves to cloud-first education All teachers in the region now being equipped with Surface Pro laptops Transforming how education is provided in Northern Ireland over the next decade is a crucial goal for the region’s Education Authority.  To meet digital skills needs over that period and beyond, the authority is implementing a versatile […]

  • a person sitting at a desk in front of a computer

    Reimagining Uninterrupted Learning at Sacred Heart School in Tullamore

    As students and teachers found themselves away from the classroom environment and learning from home, schools were again adapting to different ways of learning to ensure quality education continues. For the Sacred Heart School in Tullamore, Co Offaly, the staff and student body were well prepared to deal with this upheaval and continued to deliver […]

Finance & Insurance


  • Two people inside using Surface Go in office

    How technology is transforming the work of governments

    Governments have the ultimate responsibility to their citizens. People depend on the services they provide like no other institution. Whether in healthcare, education, business, roads, railways, water – it’s essential that government institutions are always at the forefront of social and digital trends. Cloud-powered technologies are playing a critical role in helping government agencies to […]



  • The Best Coffee Is Brewed In The Cloud

    The Best Coffee Is Brewed In The Cloud

    Modern coffee is complicated. Gone are the days when a quick cup of ‘instant’ in the morning would satisfy most of us. Coffee is a living, breathing culture, and with it comes a burgeoning set of consumer expectations. Meeting and exceeding them determines whether coffee businesses sink or swim in an industry where you’re only […]

  • Two field workers fixing airplane turbines

    IoT connected field service has tapped into a new economy of satisfaction

    There’s something to be said for how modern convenience has altered customer expectations globally. As the world rapidly moves towards digitisation, traditional values―such as price and product loyalty―are cast aside in favour of curated service experiences. In the field service industry, this has become an area of concern for continuous customer satisfaction and business growth. […]


  • Big data boosts business for beverage company

    Big data boosts business for beverage company

    Contemplate, if you will, the multiple choices available every time you want something to drink. Water? Juice? Soft drink? Do you want a single-serve can or a six-pack? Or maybe you just grab a liter bottle. The fact is, we as consumers expect a lot of options and the global non-alcoholic beverage industry delivers. Arca […]

  • A man standing in front of a truck

    Why leading Irish retailer Musgrave is ready for anything with cloud technology

    “When assessing the potential effects of major digital transformation projects on our business, we always think about three key constituents: colleagues, retailers, and consumers.” So says Paul Baguley, IT PMO for Musgrave Retail – Ireland’s leading food retail, wholesale and food service company. Together with its retail partners, who operate under leading brands including SuperValu […]

Discover more related articles per dossier:

Customer Stories

  • Areal shot of the Johan Curijff ArenA in Amsterdam

    Pitch perfect? The football stadium enhancing their grass with IoT

    Is Johan Cruijff Arena the most innovative stadium in the world? It’s certainly looking that way. Well ahead of the curve on taking an environmental stance within their business practices, this Dutch arena achieved carbon neutral status before it had even become a global corporate priority. Now this European entertainment goliath turns its sights towards […]

Digital Transformation

  • a person sitting at a table

    Innovation in Challenging Times, Our first Microsoft Talk 

    Innovation in Challenging Times, Our first Microsoft Talk   When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and some people build windmills  Chinese proverb   I had the pleasure of opening our first virtual Microsoft Talk which explored Innovation in Challenging Times. It was a great session, with some stellar speakers like Margaret Burgraff, a Venture Capitalist who talked about what opportunities may […]


  • Image of a man and woman smiling

    Microsoft and Connect at Catalyst Inc

    Microsoft and Connect at Catalyst Inc It’s an exciting time to be working in the technology sector in Northern Ireland. More than ever before we’re seeing increased numbers of entrepreneurs, start-up businesses, and indeed multinationals setting up in the North. Working together and learning from each other encourages a strong technology ecosystem and ultimately yields […]

Security & Privacy


  • Group of two female and one male office workers brainstorming in informal office setting. Both women are using laptops while the man is writing. Large screen shown in background.

    2019 Modern Selling Trends in 5 webinars

    The relationship between buyers and sellers grows more complicated each day. Every potential partnership requires finding the right buyer, fully understanding their business, tracking progress through the buying cycle, and engaging them with the right content—when and how they want it. These shifting dynamics underscore the artistry of modern selling. When the time is right, […]