Reminiscence therapy for Alzheimer’s disease wins Clinical Innovation Award 2013

Julia O’Rourke presented with Enterprise Ireland-Cleveland Clinic prize by Minister Bruton

Minister Bruton and Julie Sinnamon CEO Designate Enterprise Ireland present the Clinical Innovation Award 2013 to Julia O’Rourke. The award is sponsored by Enterprise Ireland and Cleveland Clinic.
Minister Bruton and Julie Sinnamon CEO Designate Enterprise Ireland present the Clinical Innovation Award 2013 to Julia O’Rourke. The award is sponsored by Enterprise Ireland and Cleveland Clinic.

A software reminiscence therapy for sufferers of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia called Rempad has won the Clinical Innovation Award 2013, sponsored by Enterprise Ireland and Cleveland Clinic, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD announced today (Wednesday 23rd October, 2013).

Julia O’Rourke, a senior speech and language therapist, was presented with the award by Minister Bruton at the Enterprise Ireland Med in Ireland event in Dublin today.

Rempad is a new software tool which uses multi-media content to connect carers and residents with memories from the past to enhance the overall wellbeing of nursing home residents suffering from Alzheimer’s.

There are 35 million people living with dementia worldwide, and this will triple by 2050. Rempad’s reminiscence therapy software uses historical artifacts such as photos and broadcast footage to stimulate memories from the past and help individuals or groups to communicate.

O’Rourke collaborated with the Adelaide and Meath Hospital and researchers at CLARITY in Dublin City University to develop Rempad.

Presenting the award, Minister Bruton said “The Clinical Innovation Award aims to recognise clinicians engaged in projects that can benefit healthcare as well as Ireland’s medical technology companies. As lead promoter for a new spin out company being formed around the technology, O’Rourke is a great example of the clinical community driving innovation into new Irish enterprise and creating jobs”.

O’Rourke will receive a grant of €15,000 to work with Enterprise Ireland and Cleveland Clinic to develop the commercial aspects of the software.

Dr Brian Griffin of Cleveland Clinic said “We look forward to working with Julia and her collaborators to develop the commercial potential for this idea. We are excited about this unique model of engaging with dementia patients. Dementia is a key area for all health care providers and we have strong programmes at our main campus in Cleveland and at Cleveland Clinic’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, a medical centre dedicated solely to the pursuit of more effective treatments for brain diseases. As one of the leading sites in the United States for conducting advanced clinical trial and translational research in this area, we see great opportunities for Julia around adoption of Rempad in the market

Congratulating Julia on her award, Enterprise Ireland CEO designate Julie Sinnamon said, “The potential social and economic benefits of Rempad are clear. As a speech and language therapist, Julia has co-developed this software with the end-user in mind and has shown great determination in getting the technology in to nursing homes to benefit residents with dementia. Enterprise Ireland is delighted to work with people of Julia’s calibre to commercialise publicly-funded research and develop new products and services like Rempad”.

Julia and the team trialled the Rempad prototype with 7 Irish nursing homes last year, all of which expressed a commitment to subscribe when Rempad becomes commercially available. Rempad was found to benefit the resident, the carer and the care home. Residents reported increased well-being and carers found the system easy to use and reported a greater knowledge about the lives of the people in their care after use.

Enterprise Ireland and Cleveland Clinic also recognised the other finalists. Mr. Sherif Sultan is a Consultant Vascular and Endovascular Surgeon in the Western Vascular Institute at University Hospital Galway, and the Galway Clinic. He was selected as a finalist for his work on stem cell treatment of peripheral vascular disease.

Dermot Kenny, Professor of Cardiovascular Biology at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and Beaumont Hospital, was selected as a finalist for his work to develop a diagnostic for Cardiovascular disease using platelet stickiness.
They will both receive Feasibility funding from Enterprise Ireland to investigate the commercial potential of their ideas.

The award ceremony took place at Enterprise Ireland’s Med in Ireland Conference 2013, Ireland’s largest medical technologies event. Buyers from 340 medical technology companies, including the global top 10 who represent 50% of the world’s purchasing power in the medical technology market, attended the Med in Ireland conference on Wednesday 23rd October 2013 at the Convention Centre, Dublin.
Enterprise Ireland scheduled over 1,200 business meetings for these buyers with Irish med tech companies and organised 150 site visits to Irish med tech companies.

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For more information contact:


Grace Labanyi

Enterprise Ireland
Communications Officer

+353 1 7272746

+353 87 3286404

Grace Labanyi

More details on the Enterprise Ireland - Cleveland Clinic Clinical Innovation Award 2013

The award supports clinicians and healthcare professionals in Ireland in developing the commercial feasibility of their innovative ideas, potentially leading to new healthcare products and services that will improve patient care, and benefit both the health care system and Ireland’s medical technologies sector. It is assessed and awarded in collaboration with Cleveland Clinic, who works with Enterprise Ireland to look at the commercial feasibility of the winning idea. This is the 3rd Clinical Innovation Award; the inaugural award was in 2011.

About Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit multi-specialty academic medical centre that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey and their heart and heart surgery program has ranked No.1 since 1995. 3000+ full-time salaried physicians and researchers represent 120 medical specialties and subspecialties. There are 5.1 million patient visits per year throughout the Cleveland Clinic health system and 157,474 hospital admissions. Patients came for treatment from every state and from more than 100 countries. Visit us at Follow us at