Puglia excellence in digital health, the Telemedicine Academy at the start

Puglia at the forefront of digital health: the Region, together with Lombardy, was recently chosen by the Ministry for Technological Innovation and the Digital Transition for the development of telemedicine platforms at national level. And the pilot project ‘Academy in telemedicine’ starts from this Region with the patronage of Aress Puglia, the regional agency for health and social life, created by Mip Politecnico di Milano Graduate School of Business and Pfizer. The initiative will help accelerate the digital transformation of the health system and rethink telemedicine (teleconsultation, telemonitoring, television, etc.), through the updating and training of regional health managers. Four days in attendance (today and tomorrow, and May 17-18) dedicated to the co-planning of digital ‘patient paths’ in which health policy makers, clinicians and patient associations participate. Aress Puglia has gained a long experience in digital healthcare, which began in 2017-2018 with the Talisman project, funded by Miur as an example of a technological platform and clinical model for the management of complex patients, which involved over 1,000 patients chronic and 350 elderly patients of the RSA and provided the planning material and the organizational and technological model that led to the establishment, in July 2020, of the regional telemedicine center. Today this platform, called CoreHealth (Regional Digital Health Operations Center) is no longer experimental: currently 13 Breast Units and 18 Oncology Guidance Centers have been trained and the stable recruitment of patients on the platform has begun, which allows, through an App and specific medical devices, to follow the entire treatment path, in which digital moments and traditional moments alternate. In the near future, the platform will expand the involvement of patients with other rare and chronic oncological diseases. “The digital transformation, contrary to popular belief, has more to do with people than with technologies and this Academy is a first interesting experiment in which the actors involved, the patient, the clinician, the business decision maker and the technician, they are brought together in a digital treatment path and they co-design it together “, declares Giovanni Gorgoni, General Manager of Aress and president of Euregha, European Regional and Local Health Authorities. Puglia, he continues, “has long and decisively embarked on a pioneering journey of digital transformation of healthcare, with many promising results, and we did not want to deprive ourselves of this further opportunity that was offered to us by the Mip Politecnico di Milano, with whom in the past we have actively collaborated with Pfizer, which demonstrates its far-sighted and future-oriented vision in favor of patients with this project “. The Academy is a place for discussion, meeting and comparison to create a shared language and planning and where different needs must find coherent answers. Times are maturing quickly: financial, technological, cultural and regulatory barriers are falling. Guidelines for telemedicine developed by the Higher Institute of Health in collaboration with the Ministry of Health are on the way; the legislation evolves and more and more technological solutions are on the market. The real obstacle is represented by the lack of skills of the actors of the health system. Academy in Telemedicine intends to fill this void. In the Italian panorama there are numerous examples of success experienced in the last decade in various Italian regions, which have launched television and virtual clinics, especially during the pandemic emergency, with good results. True virtuous models, whose results can be measured every year and which for their success can be shared and exported to other realities. “We are living in a particular historical moment, in which the digital transformation of the healthcare system has revealed all its relevance – explains Emanuele Lettieri, scientific director of the Academy in telemedicine and scientific co-director of the Digital Health Observatory of the Politecnico di Milano – Digital innovation is at the heart of the PNR. to provide services in both virtual and traditional format, according to needs. Forming e-leadership is crucial, that is the ability to lead digital transformation projects, identify multi-channel paths, set objectives and measure results, through innovative training of top health figures regional “. “Digital, if used well, makes healthcare services closer to the citizen and therefore more ‘human’, because they are able to grasp the need for continuity of care that the traditional approach struggles to satisfy. Academy in telemedicine, developed by Mip Politecnico of Milan and Pfizer, is an ambitious challenge and I thank the Puglia Region for being the first region to join this innovative training course – adds Lettieri – In this historical moment, in which all the cards are in the right place, it is therefore not to waste a great opportunity. Pfizer becomes a partner of health institutions precisely to support this revolutionary change with the pilot project Academy in telemedicine “.” Our company, which has always been oriented towards innovation, considers it extremely important to offer its contribution to a path of training in telemedicine aimed at healthcare managers, who are called to implement the transformation in clinical practice mation towards Digital Health, as we are trying to do with the Academy “, says Guido di Donato, director of regional institutional relations and member of Pfizer’s board of directors in Italy. “It is a question of fostering – he highlights – a new cultural attitude to change. Today telemedicine has all the prerequisites not to be an interesting future opportunity, but to already be an integral part of our reality. In recent years, technologies and applications have been developed. which can guarantee efficient remote medical consultation and monitoring. To this must be added the fact that the experience gained with the pandemic has accelerated the path towards digitization also in the world of healthcare. However, some resistance to the introduction of new technologies, against all evidence, given that the application of telemedicine models can bring advantages for everyone: for structures, for doctors and above all for patients, in particular for those suffering from chronic diseases and undergoing continuous visits and checks , and that instead could receive a less demanding and equally effective virtual service “. On the sidelines of the opening of the proceedings, the president of the Puglia Region, Michele Emiliano, commented: “The digitization of health processes was present in our first government program. We have kept our commitment and now Puglia has the honor and the responsibility of supporting, together with Lombardy, the digital transformation of healthcare in the entire country. The one that is starting today in Puglia is a complex and ambitious path, in which we will, as always, put our utmost commitment “.