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The SETU-led project will assess digital competencies, and the training needs of health care professionals across Europe to develop and deliver a bespoke training portfolio.

South East Technological University (SETU) is leading a new European project that aims to revolutionize healthcare training and development in the European Union.

Funded by EU4Health, Dynamic Digital Resilience for Medical and Allied Professions in Health Services (DDS-MAP) brings together 15 European partners consisting of Higher Education Institutions (medical, nursing, education and digital technology), NGOs, health authorities and health insurers to develop new training for health care professionals, helping them acquire and master new and emerging digital technologies, and manage the challenges associated with them.

A stronger Health Union

The EU4Health programme aims to improve and foster health in the EU, strengthen health systems and pave the way for a stronger, healthier and more resilient Health Union. The DDS-MAP project will embed awareness, knowledge and self-reflection about their engagement and use of digital technologies in both the learning and professional practice of health care professionals. DDS-MAP will conduct a survey of digital competencies across the EU, assessing the training needs and capabilities of health care professionals to inform the development and delivery of a bespoke training portfolio. This will consist of three generic modules that can be adapted to the needs of the multiple disciplines within the health workforce, and a fourth module focused on resilience and wellbeing. This is the first time such an extensive assessment has been undertaken.

Increasing dependence on digital technologies

Prof John Wells, Dean of the School of Health Sciences at SETU in Waterford and project leader explained the importance of this work, “DDS-MAP recognises that health services are increasingly dependent on digital technologies to deliver both high end and day to day care and services. These technologies are constantly changing and expanding within the health care space and such pace of change, we know, often causes the health care workforce considerable anxiety.

In addition, in a more destabilised world, health care digital infrastructure is often targeted by international gangs and malign state actors causing enormous disruption to services. DDS-MAP, informed by and supporting the European Pact for Skills, aims to address these challenges by equipping the health workforce with knowledge and a skill set that will give them confidence in adapting to rapid technological change and in managing the consequences of digital disruption to services when these occur.”

AR/VR teaching and assessment technologies

In addition to the implementation of a pan European survey, DDS-MAP has two other unique features. It will employ micro-credentialing to assess and reward skills development in the clinical setting. It will also use Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) as key teaching and assessment technologies. These AR and VR tools will be developed by the Mixed Reality team based at Walton Institute, the internationally recognised ICT research Institute of SETU.

SETU as a major support for health services

DDS-MAP has been awarded funding of over €2.4m under the EU4Health scheme. Speaking of the significance of this project, Prof Veronica Campbell, SETU President said, “DDS-MAP is the first project funded by the EU4Health initiative to be led by an Irish University and, with our international partners, is a mark of the quality of leadership and health related research and education at SETU. This success bodes well for the future development of health related research within SETU and confirms its role as a major support for health services in the South East Region, and indeed across Ireland and the European Union.” 

The DDS-MAP project commenced on 1 March 2023 and will continue until September 2025.  

Photo Caption:
Front row (L-R) Dr Sara Kennedy (Head of the Department of Nursing and Health Care, SETU Waterford) Florian Scheibein (Research Assistant and PhD scholar, School of Health Sciences, SETU Waterford) Prof John Wells (Dean of the School of Health Sciences, SETU Waterford) Prof Martina Gooney (Lecturer/Researcher, Dept of Nursing and Healthcare, SETU Waterford)

Middle row (L-R) Laura Widger (Assistant Head of Department, School of Education and Lifelong Learning, SETU Waterford ), Dr Frances Finn (Lecturer, Dept of Nursing and Healthcare, SETU Waterford), Dr John Sheppard (Lecturer and Course Leader, Dept Computing & Mathematics - Computer Forensics & Security, SETU Waterford)

Back row (L-R) Marie Carey (Lecturer, Dept of Nursing and Healthcare, SETU Waterford), Dr Patrick Delaney (Lecturer, Dept of Sport and Exercise Science, SETU Waterford) Frances Cleary (Head of Division, Walton Institute, SETU) 

Photo Credit: Mary Browne, Brownes Photography