Minister Naughton launches new Masters in Evidence-Based Future Healthcare at University of Galway

At the launch of the new Masters in Evidence-Based Future Healthcare at University of Galway were, from left, Dr Elaine Toomey, a lecturer in Evidence-Based Healthcare at University of Galway, Health Research Board fellow and Co-Director of the new Masters; Government Chief Whip and Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton T.D.; and Professor Martin O'Donnell, Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, University of Galway. Credit – Martina Regan Photography.
Oct 20 2023 Posted: 14:33 IST

Government Chief Whip and Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy Hildegarde Naughton T.D. has officially launched a ground-breaking new Masters in Evidence-Based Future Healthcare at University of Galway. 

The programme - announced to coincide with World Evidence-Based Healthcare Day - is designed to equip health and social care workers from around the world with the tools and knowledge needed to navigate the complex landscape of modern healthcare. 

University of Galway’s MSc in Evidence-Based Future Healthcare is a fully online programme and is currently recruiting for its first intake in September 2024. It has been designed to be uniquely tailored for busy healthcare workers engaged in clinical practice, as well as those in broader healthcare settings (such as research, administration or policy), who are seeking to transform their current practice, optimise healthcare outcomes and advance their careers in a rapidly evolving field.

The programme aims to respond to the growing global demand for evidence-based healthcare, driven by the expectations of funders, policymakers and the public, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The programme will also deepen healthcare workers’ appreciation of health-tech advances, such as artificial intelligence, and how to use these appropriately.

Government Chief Whip and Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton T.D. said: “I am delighted to officially launch the new Masters in Evidence-Based Future Healthcare at University of Galway. This initiative will offer invaluable opportunities for healthcare professionals and individuals in related fields such as medtech, to develop their understanding of the critical skills needed to enhance patient care and health service delivery through the application of best practices. Our experiences through the pandemic underscore the significance of collaborative, efficient and effective evidence-based healthcare in safeguarding the well-being of communities.” 

Dr Elaine Toomey, a Lecturer in Evidence-Based Healthcare at University of Galway, Health Research Board fellow and Co-Director of the new Masters, said at the launch: “In an era where information is abundant, but not always reliable, it is essential that healthcare professionals and people working in healthcare have the knowledge and skills to rigorously evaluate and apply the latest evidence in their practice. 

“This new and innovative programme will be fully online, enhancing accessibility and flexibility of learning for people from all areas of Ireland and internationally. It is primarily designed to provide clinicians and healthcare workers from a variety of backgrounds, with the tools they need to make truly-informed decisions alongside patients and their families, ultimately leading to significantly improved quality of care.”

The MSc programme aims to empower workers and address the challenge of misinformation around healthcare by providing a robust interdisciplinary curriculum that emphasises critical appraisal of research evidence and the importance of basing healthcare decisions on the latest scientific findings.

It also underscores the critical role of bringing together healthcare workers from multiple disciplines to develop and implement evidence-based approaches that can transform healthcare delivery and ultimately improve patient outcomes. 

The MSc programme combines the expertise of faculty from diverse backgrounds, including medicine, nursing, public health, allied health, data analytics and ethics to provide a comprehensive and holistic education in evidence-based healthcare. 

It covers a wide range of topics, including:

  • Applied Health Research Methods: Participants will gain practical skills in research design and data analysis, enabling them to find, evaluate and apply healthcare research effectively.
  • Clinical Decision-Making: The program equips healthcare professionals with the tools to make evidence-based clinical decisions in true collaboration with patients and their families, enhancing patient care.
  • Communication and Patient-Centred Care: Participants will learn about effective communication strategies to engage patients and provide person-centred care in an increasingly multicultural and data-savvy society.
  • Digital Health and Data Analytics: The curriculum also explores the efficient and effective use of digital technologies and data analytics to enhance healthcare decision-making.

Professor Declan Devane, Professor of Health Research Methodology at University of Galway and Co-Director of the Masters, said: “As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, so must our strategies for education and professional development. Our new postgraduate course in Evidence-Based Future Healthcare stands as a timely and essential response to an urgent global need. It offers an interdisciplinary, forward-thinking platform for healthcare workers of all backgrounds to develop their skills and knowledge. This programme provides the tools to tackle pressing challenges in healthcare, incorporating the latest in evidence-based practice, and fostering a culture of continuous learning and collaboration.”

The Masters is linked with the internationally-recognised centres of excellence of Evidence Synthesis Ireland, Cochrane Ireland and the Health Research Board Trials Methodology Research Network.


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