Digital healthcare in Italy - Statistics and Facts

Digital health refers to the use of information and communication technology in the health sector. In Italy, the need for a more efficient National Health Service is quite imperative. Hence, it is interesting to see how digital technology fits in this framework, considering the resources allocated to foster digital healthcare and the perception of e-health among both professionals in the sector and patients. In the next few years, the expenditure on eHealth is expected to gradually increase.

Most of the resources invested in this field are addressed to the digitalization of clinical departmental systems and the implementation of EHR. Nonetheless, the popularity of EHR among general practitioners and pediatricians is uneven throughout Italy, as some regions are still lagging behind. On the contrary, it is common practice to use electronic instead of paper-based medical prescriptions.

The use of health apps and medical wearables is not widespread yet, even though, there is a rising interest in apps that function as reminders. Pertaining to communication apps, the benefits they bring about are widely recognized among general practitioners, but less appreciated by the patient, who still prefers to communicate with doctors using more traditional means.

As regards remote health monitoring, roughly four Italian patients out of ten are willing to try telemedicine services. The greatest concern about the use of artificial intelligence for medical purposes remains the lack of human contact according to Italians, while time-saving and data accuracy are considered the best advantages.

In recent years, Italy has certainly made progresses in implementing digital healthcare. People seem interested in embracing digital health solutions. However, the digitalization process is still ongoing and much more needs to be done to achieve tangible results in terms of efficiency. Currently, the main challenges to be tackled, other than the scarcity of economic resources, are the lack of skills and the skepticism towards digital methods, which is sometimes related to digital illiteracy.

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