Building a Better Health Service


St John of God Liffey Services develop award winning Person-centred Plans digital solution for people with intellectual disabilities.

Representatives from St John of God Liffey Services at the recent Health Service Excellence Awards.

Representatives from St John of God Liffey Services at the recent Health Service Excellence Awards

The belief that everyone deserves access to their information was a driving force behind an award-winning project for people with intellectual disabilities.

For the past decade, the St John of God (SJOG) Liffey Services team have been working with multimedia to support total communication approaches for people with an intellectual disability. Their resultant ‘Person-centred Plans’ (PCP) has earned them the award for Innovation in Integrated Digital Excellence at the recent HSE Health Service Excellence Awards.

The Liffey Services team spent years researching, testing and piloting systems to support accessible PCPs during this time. The project group’s focus was ensuring they created a transparent and accessible person-centred planning system.

They co-designed an accessible PCP platform on iplanit with software developers Aspirico thanks to a QIC eHealth grant. 

“Our aim is not only to put the person first in theory but, through the use of multimedia and assistive technology, to ensure that they have access to their plans and records in real-time,” explained Sarah Gavra Boland, Assistive Technology Co-Ordinator, SJOG Liffey Services.

The added value of using a digital platform has ensured that the plan owner can access their plans and goal tracking on their smart device using assistive technology and accessible multimedia content. Multimedia supports people to express their needs and wishes in a way that focuses on their ability. It also allows services to provide information to the people who use that service in a way they can understand.

The judges commented that this project demonstrated alternatives to traditional ways of communication through innovative thinking, and were impressed with the sheer determination, genuine commitment and high energy among the team.

Sarah said the project team were thrilled to receive the award in recognition of their commitment to developig an accessible person-centred planning system.

“This unique project gave everyone involved an opportunity to showcase their digital competencies and what can be achieved when we have instant and immediate access to personal plans. This project allowed the plan owners to become creators and an opportunity to add to their plans through the use of their multimedia to support themselves to understand their plans,” she said.

“This project was the first step on the road to digital inclusion and in the delivery of an accessible, transparent person-centred service based on real-time smart goal-driven data. We are continuing to work with all stakeholders to build and advance this project to support more individuals. They include the aim more stakeholders in the project to ensure further that the individuals we support have the best supports possible to fulfil their life vision.” 

Alan Byrne, Day Service Co-Ordinator SJOG Liffey Services, said the project was made possible through the collaborative work and co-design by the SJOG staff and the individuals they support.

“Winning this award supports us to keep moving forward and continue to improve our systems so that they are fully accessible. This award reflects the work that has taken place through a decade long shift towards the use of technology in how we provide our services, as technology has progressed, the individuals we support have embraced its use. This opened up a world of possibilities where individuals can access/control and populate their information and plans,” said Alan.

Audrey Carroll, Day Service Programme Manager, SJOG Liffey Service, said that the impact of winning the award was significant to Liffey Services.

“It validates the high-level development and research work undertaken as well as showcasing the real-life stories of the men and women who have bravely engaged with and further informed the design of this genuinely person-centred technological initiative,” she said.

“John of God Liffey Services are advocates of shared learning, and this award provides a unique opportunity to disseminate the evidence-based benefits of service users participating in their service provision through technology. We can now celebrate the success to date and continue to grow further and adapt the platform in partnership with our colleagues in the Intellectual Disability sector and vitally with the people for whom we provide the supports.”

Declan Kelly, CEO, Aspirico, said the company was delighted to see the iplanit project at SJOG Liffey getting recognised.

“It is a great privilege to work on the project with SJOG, who is a leading national provider with a clear passion for inclusion and service quality. Combined with the many awards iplanit has received internationally, it further underlines the benefits of person cantered innovation within the disability and social care sector,” he said.