Irish Community Rapid Response

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Irish Community Rapid Response: We bring rapid voluntary emergency medical intervention at the highest level.

Skibbereen, IrelandIreland
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Providing lifesaving volunteer doctors responding to emergencies for the community. With over 2,000 calls and over 200 lives saved every year, Irish Community Rapid Response model of volunteer emergency medical service has and is making an impact in communities all over Ireland

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if you could guarantee life-saving first-aid care in the golden hour after a medical emergency for everyone? What if we could save 500+ lives a year in remote and rural areas?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

People in rural areas are at a significantly higher risk of dying during emergencies. Much of the medical service for areas such as oncology was centralized in “centres of excellence” in Irelands three major cities. While this was an effective solution for these illnesses, it caused an increase in fatalities in rural areas for those medical emergencies where time is the deciding factor.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Irish Rapid Response is approaching the problem in a wholly new way – rather than up skilling untrained people or plugging a hole by expanding basic services, it is breaking down the traditional structures of the hospital altogether, building mechanisms to take the Intensive Care unit out to people in need, rather than bringing them back to the ICU in the hospital more quickly. This means training local people in a new medical specialty, placed between injury and the ER: pre-hospital specialists. At the same time, it is creating a national network of these local specialists who can deploy quickly to reach patients.


Social Entrepreneurs Ireland 2009; Arthur Guinness Fund 2011; Social Entrepreneurs Ireland impact program 2013: Ashoka fellow 2015;
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

We work under the 999/112 system together with the National Ambulance Service and they dispatch our volunteers and we work to complement the existing services. The communities we support, equip and up skill our medical volunteers so that they only have to commit their time and expertise to life or death events in their respective community. We "geofence" the area they will respond to, for example i.e. 10km 20km 30km from their location, and the time they give will be their choice, so that they are not on call beyond their capacity. (On average the doctors make themselves available 30 hours a week.)

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Irish Community Rapid Response has intervened in over 4,500 emergency calls and made an impact on over 500 lives since 2008. We have gone from one volunteer doctor in 2008 up to 112 volunteer doctors as of now. By 2020 we will have over 500 doctors responding to over 10,000 emergency calls every year in Ireland alone.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We will gather the data of our impact with our university partners and improve on technological advances that help emergency remote medicine. We are developing an air service to complement our ground operations and put in place a 24/7 cover for Ireland. We plan to change the mind set of our health system and allow us to be their partners in innovation for better patient outcomes. We want to have over 500 doctors in 2020 responding to pre-hospital emergency's for there community in Ireland.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

ICRR plans to bill the state for our service as well as developing affordable technology solutions that will generate income as well as save lives. What is the value of saving a life and the impact on the community.? We are developing partners with insurance companies that support our service.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

BASICS Scotland and Air Ambulance services in the UK operate in similar districts (rural, remote). However, our model is different as we use medical volunteers directly supported by their community, our service is not limited by night and bad weather as this can restrict helicopter operations. We use the most advanced medical equipment available to us in a pre-hospital setting that currently is not being used in conventional Ambulances.

Founding Story

John Kearney was faced with death more than once and as a result of direct action a friends life was saved, there has been also many personal experiences in which friends were lost unnecessarily where the outcome could have been different if the correct treatment was given earlier. He has dedicated himself to improving outcomes from emergency incidents to the treatment at the right hospital. From the time ICRR saved there first life in 2008 (it was a small baby), it has helped us focus and climb the mountains that are put in front of us. What gets us up early every morning is that we can make a difference, and there is nothing more powerful than being part of a team that saves lives.


ICRR has one full time and two part time staff supported by a volunteer board coordinating over 230 medical and community volunteers in Ireland. Our board comes from three different areas, one third being community focused, one third from the commercial sector and the remaining with a medical background. We have commitment from another 400 doctors who are willing to volunteer for us, we plan to grow at a 100 per year based on the current resources.
CO-CREATION IDEA: Please offer a brief description of how you imagine a win-win partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim to better serve unmet needs in health. (Hint: Please mention the underlying business model envisioned that would make such a partnership sustainable.)

There is a need for our model to scale up internationally as we have proven that it works and is saving lives in Ireland. We would see a partnership with BI as a great opportunity for the both of us to embrace the challenges that other countries face when dealing with pre-hospital emergencies, ultimately saving more lives. We have the expertise to develop the community relationships and BI would have the expertise in the medical and commercial sectors. There are opportunities for BI as ICRR has built trust and strong links to a fast-growing network of local GP's, who have a direct line to thousands of patients in rural parts of Ireland that large hospitals and health companies often struggle to reach.

NEEDS: Based on you response above, please specify which of the following resources, operations or expertise by Boehringer Ingelheim you imagine leveraging to actualize the proposed co-creation opportunity. Please check all that apply. (Hint: while financing is often critical to scale, we are also interested in understanding what other assets or expertise could be leveraged).

Research and Development, Relationships/New Contacts, Marketing/Communications Support, Technology Expertise, Access to Capital.

EXPLANATION OF NEEDS: Please explain your choices in more detail.

Relationships and networking will be paramount as well as developing new opportunities that help save lives in pre-hospital emergencies. Capital and the development of a social enterprise to support the rolling out of ICRR internationally will be key to maintaining sustainability. Telling the world our story is so important and to maximise the support needed from all partners to make this happen. We are developing technology solutions to keep at the fore front of an ever changing medical land scape and we want to be the leaders in remote pre hospital medicine solutions.

OFFER: What are the main assets you may contribute in a co-creation partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim that would better serve unmet needs in health?

Deep understanding of an unmet need in a specific market/context, Access to and established trust with customers/beneficiaries, Insights into behavior change.

FOCUS AREAS: Which of the following best describes the main focus of your project? (select all that apply)

Remote care solutions for health management, treatment, and diagnosis.

Please share what your organisation and Boehringer Ingelheim will Co-Create together

Pre-hospital emergencies are the space we work in and have been doing so successfully since 2008. Our volunteer doctors respond to trauma and cardiac emergencies in many different environments in both rural and urban settings. We see the ICRR and BI sharing information on what we have learned to date in the pre-hospital environment and using opportunities that can be developed to improve patient outcomes. BI currently have cardiac products for use in the pre-hospital area to improve patient outcomes, I think a partnership with ICRR would help the development of new and improved solution's in pre-hospital emergency's. We need strategic management and communication support to help expand our model to communities around the country. We have the commitment of the medical community and now need to scale up our service of supporting the medical volunteers with the right training and right equipment, exploring new solutions to improve outcomes.

Please specify what your Co-Creation will result in:

a new product, a new service, a new market/customer group.

If you selected "other" above, please explain:
Please provide a 1-2 sentence summary of your Co-Creation idea

We provide critical care volunteers in pre-hospital emergencies and have learned a lot from this experience. BI have the opportunity to learn from our experience and together we can hopefully come up with improved solutions that will save more lives in the pre-hospital space. Co-creation will result in an improved service to the community: delivery of high-quality trauma care in the pre-hospital setting.

How does this project link to the core mission of your organisation?

Our core mission is to bring the highest medical level possible in the pre-hospital environment to sustain life and improve outcomes for the patient.

Beyond social impact, how does this project link to Boehringer Ingelheim’s core business?

Personal learning of BI staff in the pre-hospital environment of emergency medicine treatments,
BI manufactures two products for treating patients in emergency situations: one for acute myocardial infarction (tenecteplase) and one for acute ischaemic stroke (alteplase)

What are the specific inputs and actions that each side will contribute to this Co-Creation idea based on each of your unique competencies and experiences?

My organization will contribute: The shared knowledge of working in the pre-hospital environment.
• “Last mile of delivery” of treatment is always a challenge for the health sector – both for pharmaceuticals and for hospitals and personnel. Even urban areas with major hospitals struggle to reach patients in the critical hour, due to high demand and inefficiencies in the services. ICRR operates in exactly that space, and already holds a wealth of information about the needs of emergency medicine outside of the hospital.
• ICRR can offer knowledge about an untapped market (emergency care patients)
• ICRR can offer knowledge about an untapped market (emergency care patients) which may of value to BI in accessing that market for current and future products.

Boehringer Ingelheim will contribute: The professional management expertise needed to expand our model.
• Strategic guidance from mentors & employees working in corporate strategy
• Insights and know-how about rolling out ICRR’s approach beyond local regions and
communications knowhow.

Please describe the potential revenue model for this Co-Creation idea.

There are lots of opportunities in the pre-hospital environment to improve patient outcomes. While there will be lots of challenges, there is also lots of opportunities, especially in remote medicine critical care. This is a big market world wide. We currently have no revenue generated from ICRR activities, but we are in the process of starting on a social entries model early in the new year to help support the service. This will take twelve months to become effective for ICRR.

What possible risks or challenges do you foresee?

Challenges to the roll-out of ICRR nationally. Challenges include no national body funding, burnout/loss of interest from current trained personnel over time, competition with other bodies in the space, need to continually improve integration of pre-hospital care with the emergency room care once the patient arrives at hospital, need to collect better metrics on the outcomes delivered by ICRR work, seamless integration of all data into the patient’s health record.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your Co-Creation idea?

Our main focus will be improving patient out comes and finding new solutions to improve treatments. We want to find solutions to support ICRR so we can continue to expand this service to other territories in partnership with BI.

How much input do you hope to receive from Boehringer Ingelheim?

I’d like to implement together, I mostly need strategic advice.

If you selected "other" above, please explain:
Besides Boehringer Ingelheim, what other types of partners might be valuable to carrying out your Co-Creation idea, and why?

logistics partner and IT partner.