Irene Gibson

Irene Gibson

PhD Trainee
University of Galway

Project title: Developing and implementing a digital Cardiovascular Disease Prevention (CVD) programme using a collaborative user-centred design (UCD) process.

Irene Gibson is a nursing graduate from the University of Limerick. Irene is a strong advocate for the nurse’s role in cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention and much of her career to date has focused on the design, development and evaluation of innovative community based models of CVD prevention. Irene has previously worked as Director of Programmes at Croí the West of Ireland Cardiac & Stroke Foundation, where she provided strategic and operational oversight for a diverse portfolio of CVD health initiatives ranging from public awareness campaigns to prevention, rehabilitation and patient support programmes. Examples include the award winning Croí MyAction programme, CLANN an obesity management programme and Croí MySláinte a virtual CVD prevention and Rehabilitation programme. In 2020 she led the accreditation process resulting in the Croí Heart & Stroke Centre becoming the first centre in Ireland to receive European Association of Preventive Cardiology (EAPC) Accreditation. Irene has presented at many health care professional conferences both nationally and internationally, she was a contributor to the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Handbook of Preventive Cardiology and has published research in the areas of hypertension, obesity and CVD prevention. Irene holds an MA in Health Promotion, Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Education and is an Adjunct Lecturer at the College of Medicine, NUI Galway. She is the past Programme Leader for the MSc in Preventive Cardiology at the National University of Ireland, Galway and is Director of Programmes and Innovation at the National Institute for Prevention and Cardiovascular Health (NIPC). She is the chairperson of the ESC Association of Cardiovascular Nurses and Allied Health Care Professionals (ACNAP) Advocacy Committee, whilst also being a member of the both the ESC Advocacy Committee and the EAPC Primary Care and Risk Factor Management nucleus.

Primary supervisor: Prof Bill McEvoy (National Institute for Prevention & Cardiovascular Health - NIPC); Co-supervisors: Prof Andrew Murphy & Prof Molly Byrne (NUI Galway)

Project summary: 

Despite the compelling evidence for prevention, there are challenges and barriers regarding uptake and accessibility of CVD secondary prevention programmes. To help address these challenges this project aims to adopt a collaborative, UCD process to the development and implementation of a digital CVD secondary prevention programme.

The project consists of three studies:

  1. A mixed method evaluation of an existing digital secondary prevention and rehabilitation programme (Croí MySláinte) developed for cardiovascular patients during the COVID 19 pandemic. Patients outcomes (clinical, lifestyle and psychosocial) and the perspectives of health professionals will be explored.
  2. A systematic review will be conducted to identify the most optimal user centre design processes to digital intervention development in CVD prevention.
  3. The application of a UCD approach to the development of a digital health intervention “INTERCEPT”, the effectiveness of which will be assessed using a feasibility randomised control trial.

This project will assess for the first time the effectiveness of a digital intervention to deliver secondary prevention in an Irish context. Furthermore, optimal co-design approaches and strategies for embedding digital health interventions into current work practices will be identified.

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