«The Immuni app? We can continue to fight over the privacy issue. Or we can take advantage of the application to finally give the country a digital healthcare system, guaranteeing everyone an electronic health record always available. We believe that the right path is the latter. Among other things, the issue of privacy can also be easily resolved through the electronic health record “. The president of Confindustria Digitale, Cesare Avenia, speaks. Electronic engineer, a career at Ericsson (mostly abroad), Avenia has the air of those who do not understand how Italy still does not fully exploit the possibilities that digitalization offers in a positive way. Even in healthcare.
For non-professionals, “digital healthcare” is an abstract concept. What are we talking about, in concrete terms?
«Let’s start with the simplest thing: it means that you no longer need to go to the doctor to make a prescription. If this system had already been operating everywhere and immediately when the Covid emergency started, we would have saved contagions and lives. But it also means, when in an emergency you have to go to the emergency room in a region other than yours, to know that doctors will know how to treat you because they can have access to data concerning your health history. Or have the opportunity to consult the doctor remotely, with a video call, through video consultation systems ».
All this would be possible through the use of the electronic health record. But there are very few regions where it works.
“This is precisely the point. The health record is a project that has been talked about since 2010. It should have been completed in 2018 and instead is still on the high seas. This wretched Covid emergency is our big chance to finally get it off the ground. There is no doubt that if we could have had the full operation of the ESF in this circumstance, we would have had a health database of the entire population, very useful for dealing with the epidemic. Now the key to starting the car could be the Immuni app “.
«Everyone wonders: where should the data acquired by Immuni flow? According to Commissioner Arcuri, we will have to rely on an Italian platform managed by a public body. There is no need to go looking far, the platform we already have: it is the electronic health record, divided for each Region that becomes interoperable at national level by hooking up to the Agid platform. It would also be the best solution in terms of privacy. The state guarantees the protection of our data “.
Where does the file work today?
“There are only six regions in which healthcare companies regularly publish documents on the electronic health record (Lombardy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Tuscany, Aosta Valley, Veneto, Trentino-Alto Adige); and there are only five Regions in which there is a percentage of adhesions to the electronic health record by patients exceeding 50% (Lombardy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Trentino-Alto Adige, Tuscany and Valle d’Aosta). There is a lot of work to be done. But this is the time to accept the challenge ».
Activation of the dossier is voluntary. If citizens don’t do it, maybe it’s not considered useful …
«No, look, the problem is simply that few people know about the electronic health record because nobody – starting from the Regions – has ever clearly explained the advantages it could bring. The critical point is that the ESF must be activated by the individual citizen, by accessing the dedicated section of the portal of the region to which they belong. But how many know it? The technological delay and a geography of the digitization of leopard spots in the same regional territory mean that many Regions do not promote any communication campaign to inform citizens of this opportunity. And to think that the benefits for the citizen-patient would also be indirect “.
What do you mean?
«With the electronic health record, the health system would have mass data on how certain diseases behave, starting from Covid-19. And this often means having the possibility to find treatments faster ».
“Often hospitals do not have the applications to read the health record …
“Some facilities record all data on a PC, from acceptance to the release of an exam result. Others continue to make paper medical records which must then be digitized. It can’t work like that. ”
The electronic health record is one of the objectives inserted by Minister Dadone in the digitization agenda of the country between now and 2030.
“This emergency has taught us that things can be done overnight. Just want it. We have seen it with smartworking in the public administration, unlocked with a simple circular, and with distance teaching. Now don’t slow down your pace with Healthcare again. The real scandal is that we found ourselves facing a pandemic with the country practically divided into 21 different health systems that for the most part do not speak to each other except through the paper medical records that travel with patients resting on ambulance stretchers. It doesn’t have to happen anymore. “