Academic Health Science System (AHSS)

What is an Academic Health Science System (AHSS)?

An Academic Health Science System (AHSS) is a fully coordinated partnership between a university and a healthcare system, designed to deliver quality care hand-in-hand with teaching, training, research and innovation, incorporating the full spectrum of the healthcare workforce. AHSSs provide high quality healthcare across the world achieving high standards of clinical care, educating health professionals and leading healthcare research and innovation. Ireland lags significantly behind its international counterparts with regard to AHSSs.

Why an AHSS?

  1. Provide better outcomes for patients.

    International examples of best practice demonstrate that integrating teaching, training,research and innovation into all aspects of patient care results in better outcomes for the patient.
  2. Ensure a stepwise improvement in staff recruitment and retention.

    Developing AHSSs will reverse emigration of many highly trained Irish healthcare professionals resulting in a significant saving to the Irish economy. It will provide highly-trained healthcare staff with attractive jobs that incorporate teaching, training, research and innovation that will improve job satisfaction,recruitment and retention of staff.
  3. Achieve cultural change by creating a learning organisation to ensure the continual development of sustainable quality and safe healthcare in Ireland.

    An environment of learning and enquiry will support staff through change processes and accelerate the implementation of new initiatives.

Is this another new structure?

No. An AHSS is a way of aligning current structures and using a governance model to achieve better outcomes for patients and staff. It requires little additional administration but rather harnesses the current inputs to work together. At present, healthcare, education and research are aligned as they all aim to provide the best outcomes for patients. However, the absence of a unifying governance structure means that the decision-making and operational processes are misaligned, the administrative overhead is too burdensome and opportunities for change initiatives are lost.

Why now?

Sláintecare presents a unique opportunity to align Irish healthcare with its partners in education, clinical research, informatics, innovation and healthcare delivery. This will allow healthcare professionals, from a wide variety of disciplines, to come together with scientists and clinical researchers to deliver consistent high quality, evidence-based, safe healthcare, research and innovation.

What is required to deliver this AHSS?

For further information, please visit the UCD Health Affairs website.

 Academic Health Science Centre

Work is currently underway in IEHG to develop the Hospital Group into an Academic Health Science Centre in partnership with UCD.  This will be done through collaboration across the traditional boundaries between education, health and scientific research to enable the discovery of innovative health improvements as well as providing care in new ways, with the objective to align and leverage expertise, innovation, reputation and performance to deliver improved health outcomes and patient experiences.

Our focus through this transformation journey will be the pooling of resources and expertise in the first instance through the development of Clinical Academic Directorates across our hospitals to enable the development of world-class research in key areas such as cancer, ophthalmology, cardiology, women’s and children’s health.  It is anticipated that building close partnerships between health practitioners and researchers will also enable new scientific discoveries to be translated more quickly into patient treatments and improved clinical outcomes.

Academic Health Science

A Patient-Centred

IEHG/UCD Academic
Health Science Centre Mission

Integrated Benefits
of an
Academic Health
Science Centre

Cancer Clinical Academic Directorate

The Cancer Clinical Academic Directorate is the first Clinical Academic Directorate developed in the Ireland East Hospital Group and was launched in June 2016 by IEHG CEO Mary Day and the Director of the National Cancer Control Programme Dr Jerome Coffey.

The aim of the Directorate is to align the two cancer centres at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital and St. Vincent’s University Hospital into a single function operating across two sites which will combine the strength and scale of our clinical cancer services at both hospitals together with the cutting edge research of UCD to enhance the care given to cancer patients across our Group.

Our staff are dedicated to improving the outcomes and experience for our patients with cancer by providing expert, compassionate care for every patient, every time.    

Clinicians from our hospitals have started working together in a formal structure, harnessing our significant academic and clinical expertise to enhance the delivery of patient care and improve outcomes.