Aldo Agostinelli

Whether we like it or not, we are all getting older. And the health system is supposed to evolve along with its systems, mechanisms and procedures to face the new problems which are going to arise. The journey ahead of us is called Health Transformation, i.e. the Digital Transformation applied to health care. As it has already happened in other fields, the digital world is expected to have a disruptive, transformational power which can be exploited, first of all, for the optimization of human resources and consumption patterns.

The Public Health Care System is no exception to this. If they want to win the current and future ( tough ) social challenges, and maintain, if not enhance, their service levels  and consequently survive, they need to seriously start using new technologies (Disruptive Health Transformation, a technology-health care system agreement to face new social challenges  ).

Medical records accessible online

This is actually no novelty. We can take our Digital medical records (EDF) as an example. We are talking about our complete medical history which can be accessed online by our physicians and contains “all digital data and documents e concerning our health and social conditions and a list of clinical events concerning our whole lives” (Ministerial Decree n.179/2015).

Our family doctors can access such records, read them, analyze them, check our progresses and status, the work made by their colleagues and thus better understand our medical issues, excluding those treatments which have not been effective and selecting the ones which have had the strongest effects and, hopefully, the most innovative protocols.

It is no coincidence if such Medical Records are considered one of the crown jewels of the Digital Health Care System. And we shall also consider that the huge amount of data generated by each patient, even in the respect of the privacy law, may be really useful for carrying out research and estimates concerning treatments, illnesses and the correct functioning of the National Health System. Big Data have finally been applied to our health in a positive way, actually.

Where the Digital Health Care and social determinants meet

Let’s talk costs. The Health Care System is expensive. Fair, imperative, but expensive. Therefore optimizing resources and cutting down on expenses is crucial so as to allow the system itself to work properly now and in the future.

Considering that, as we have been told for decades, better safe than sorry, before treating illnesses, we’d better deal with health determinants, i.e. factors characterizing the way people were born, grow up, live, work and get old and which affect their health. The WHO has listed work conditions, social exclusion, the possibility to access the health care system, gender equity, globalization, children development and urbanization as some of such key factors.

So, what about the Digital Transformation? Thanks to it and the latest technologies we can  reduce the effects of the aforesaid social determinants and reorganize the health care system as well as the related services (the digital revolution and the health care system: that is how we can reduce the effects of “social determiners”).
Better quality of life = less diseases, lower costs, less expenses.

From AI to robots for a holistic approach

Every individual is unique. That is why in the next two decades  medicine will have to take on a more personalized approach, totally unconceivable in the pre-digital era. More specifically, genomic, AI and robots will allow doctors to go for fully customized solutions based on every single patient’s exigencies.

The digital health care infrastructures, handled by AI, will allow us to collect and analyze data detected by bio-sensors, digital medical records, automated prosthesis and apps, and consequently work out a personalized medical protocol, either directly on site or even remotely (telemedicine).

It is no surprise, then, that according to experts, within 20 years, 90% of doctors and health workers will have to be digitally and technologically savvy (AI and medicine, doctors and patients have to be trained: here are the reasons why ).

it could not be otherwise: a  multi-disciplinary approach is crucial for implementing the Health Care System 4.0.

On which health determinants do you think we should act first to improve the service provided by the National Health Care System? What do you expect from the Health Care System 4.0’ Tweet @agostinellialdo

To find out more about the digital world, you may read my latest book entitled: “People Are Media” 

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Aldo Agostinelli