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HSE Health Passport App a positive development for People with Intellectual Disabilities

CNM Martina McDaid with client Paul Thompson

Designed to support people with Intellectual Disability to communicate and express their unique needs when in a health care setting, the HSE Health Passport is now available as an app.  And it is appropriate that this development is announced today, Friday December 3rd, International Day of Persons with a Disability. 

Welcoming the development, Kathleen McBride whose son Martin has Intellectual Disability, said their experience of using the Health Passport had been “very positive. When my son Martin who has Intellectual Disability, was sent to the Emergency Department, he had his Health Passport with him.   It was of great help to both us and the medical profession as his files are not available on arrival.  The information on his Health Passport allowed treatment to begin immediately as Martin was then diagnosed with pneumonia. 

“It also gave important information such as to put drip in Martins left side and to take his temperature on his right side as in a stressful situation we forget to mention these important details.  The doctor that attended Martin thought the Health Passport was a great idea and was grateful that all his important information was at hand”.

 Sláintecare Integration Fund

 The Health Passport App is funded by The Department of Health through the Sláintecare Integration Fund. One of the aims of the Sláintecare Integration Fund is to test and scale innovative new ways of providing care.  This digital technology will ensure the patient voice is paramount, delivering a more accessible positive care experience.

The five sections contained within the app include: “All about me”; Medical History; Communication; “Looking after me” and “Keeping me safe and happy.”

The app helps healthcare staff to get to know all about the abilities and needs of people with an Intellectual Disability who come into contact with a Healthcare Setting enabling them to provide better safer care by providing reasonable adjustments before undertaking any assessment, examination or treatment of people with Intellectual Disability.


The development of the app was expedited as a direct result of Covid-19.  It is well evidenced in the research literature that people with intellectual disability have more adverse health outcomes than their general population counterparts. 


Minister of State with responsibility for Disability, Anne Rabbitte TD, described the development as a “wonderful initiative.   It is really important that we leave no one behind. The HSE Health Passport will be the patient safety communication tool for individuals with an Intellectual Disability to enable their voice to be heard. In line with the Sláintecare vision, this project puts the patient at the centre of the system and also facilitates engagement and empowerment of citizens with an intellectual disability to manage their health conditions better.”


Niamh Walsh, PhD Researcher, explained that “we have been using the paper based HSE Health Passport since 2017 but with the support of Sláintecare we were able to develop the app version which will enable further spread and scale and accessibility of the HSE Health Passport to those who need it, never has this been more urgent than during the pandemic.”


Prof Mac MacLachlan, Clinical Lead, National Clinical Programme for People with Disability described the App as an “excellent tool that  enables people with intellectual disabilities and others with communication difficulties to exercise their human right to access quality services and supports across the health and social care sector.  The Passport puts people with disabilities in the digital space and ensures that they are active participants in their services and supports”.


The HSE Health Passport ID App is available on IOS and Android. Watch how the app helps people with intellectual disability.