New technolgies for healthcare

07/10/2020 By

by Giulia Malfatti, Project Manager with TrentinoSalute4.0

The second edition of the Terni Digital Week took place in the last week of September, with five days dedicated to digital technologies and its applications in many fields, ranging from agriculture to health, industry and school. The TrentinoSalute4.0 group was invited to participate in the session dedicated to educational robotics and the use of new technologies in healthcare to present its innovative experiments on remote visiting currently underway in the Province of Trento.

The experimentations, which respond to the new needs that have emerged with the current health emergency, see different clinical areas involved, allowing thus to evaluate and validate different approaches to telemedicine.

Thanks to the close collaboration with the specialists of the Trento Province Healthcare System (APSS) and with local doctors, three macro categories of remote visiting have been identified, each of which supports different clinical and organizational needs, in an effort to optimize the remote relationship between citizens/patients and the health system:

  • basic remote visiting allows for remote visits with the possibility of video calling the patient and sharing multimedia material through a messaging channel – chat (reference experimentation with some pediatricians);
  • advanced televisiting with test guides the patient through the collection and structured sharing of values/measurements requested by the healthcare professional, which can help the clinician in conducting the remote visit (reference experimentation with ophthalmology healthcare professionals);
  • remote visiting with telemonitoring, especially designed for the management of chronic diseases, allows the collection of information on the patient’s health status, long-term monitoring by health professionals and the provision of educational and information materials to the patient to better manage chronic diseases (reference experimentation with cardiology and diabetes specialists).

The three macro categories differ in the number of functions provided, but all share two basic aspects: the role of the patient, who becomes an active player in the management of their own condition and in their relationship with the local health system, and the strong reduction in travel time for patients, who can access visits without the need to physically reach outpatient or hospital facilities.

For each experimental area, a specific technology system was created, consisting of a mobile application and a web portal that allows users to test the various functions. The technology platform that makes it possible to convey the experiments is TreC, an interface already known and increasingly used by Trentino residents (currently over 114 thousand users are registered with the system). If the trials are successful, and show a good degree of acceptability and use by both users and health professionals, the new televisiting function will be integrated within the TreC_FSE App, available from 2018 to all Trento Province health system patients.

Televisiting, especially following the restrictions imposed by the Covid emergency, but not only, represents a strong ally for the health system and for citizens, allowing to monitor and maintain relationships with patients remotely, limiting travel and the consequent possible spread of the virus. It also represents a great opportunity for health providers to rethink their work organization methods, optimizing the use of resources, allowing new working methods (eg smart working) and enhancing aspects such as prevention and awareness of correct lifestyles in citizens. (gm)