Innovation in the Italian National Health System and the Cost-Reducing Impact of E-Health and Telemedicine: The special case of the Telemedicine Project of the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza Hospital (Apulia Region)—When Information and Communication Technology Comes to the Aid of the Territory
Author(s): Matteo Maria Cati
The recent events of the COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, have dramatically and suddenly changed the dynamic interactions among the various elements of the complex social and economic texture of most countries around the globe, such as Italy, accelerating the digital transformation in many areas of human activity and in particular in the health care sector. After having defined e-health (Figure 1) and some of its applications, with particular reference to telemedicine, the following important research question is addressed: what are the factors that contribute to the successful introduction of telemedicine? To answer this question, this article focuses on the recent efforts of the Italian Health Legislation to increase e-health literacy and to incentivize the health care system to adopt the new tools of information and communication technologies. In particular, the role of telemedicine is highlighted for its cost-reducing effect, particularly when dealing with patients affected by chronic, noncommunicable diseases. For this purpose, the author considers as a special case study the implementation strategy of the Telemedicine project of the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, a private Catholic hospital in Southern Italy, as an example of excellence.
Figure 1: (Graphic presentation) – E-Health and some of its applications