Health to come: same goal, new means.

August 2020

Rimini, Tuesday 18 August – “The Covid experience has upset everyone’s life, it has radically changed the doctor-patient relationship, dropping taboos such as privacy, allowing them to follow and treat thousands of patients with telemedicine. The scenario has changed, what lesson can we draw?”.

Camillo Rossi, Health Director of the Territorial Social Health Company (ASST) Spedali Civili Brescia, thus introduced the guests of the meeting entitled “Health to come: same goal, new means".

Fernanda Bastiani, General Practitioner, SIMG (Italian Society of GPs) provincial Secretary of Parma, replied: “The pandemic was an hurricane that has changed our way of working: in hospitals, among colleagues, discussion, help and enthusiasm have arisen. Changing the doctor-patient relationship was not a categorical imperative, but a necessity born of a series of circumstances. The emergency was a dramatic story from which we learned a lot. First of all - she continued - sharing and collaboration on the decisions to be taken with everyone emerged: doctors, nurses, mayors, operators.

Then we learned things we didn't know. In the autumn of last year, the OECD ranked our healthcare system in second place in Europe for quality in services and for healthcare professionals; the problem is that we had to operate in a context where technological tools for health are still lacking. So, from today on, we can work to improve the situation”.

Giorgio Moretti, managing director of Dedalus, a leading multinational in Europe, one of the main international players in the field of hospital and diagnostic software is also convinced of this.We are close to a quantum shift that we need to be able to handle. We cannot replace the doctor with technologies, but an increase in tools can improve the relationship between doctor and patient. Covid has given us an opportunity, it has offered us a test to introduce new technologies in healthcare, as had already been done decisively in other sectors. Telemedicine and telediagnosis are the starting points. The pandemic has been faced in various ways by European countries: France, for example, has implemented large investments in technological infrastructures, a model that our country should also adopt through planning organizational models in which the clinic community and the healthcare community can find an agreement. What is needed today is not funding, but a shared will”.

Marco Trivelli, Welfare General Director of the Lombardy Region, has a great decision-making responsibility also for the repercussions on the population of the measures adopted by public decision-makers. “The quantum shift highlighted took place between March and April, when the pandemic was expressed in all its virulence. In the following phases, all the vulnerability of the system emerged. Therefore the ability to treat and think about the patient, the skills and vocation of the doctor are not enough. We need to reshape our care needs, make remote diagnostics and teleconsulting a systemic fact, as well as increasing cooperation among professionals”.

Urged by the moderator to a common commitment, the speakers agreed that the steps to be taken are the sharing of knowledge in terms of tools and means to improve patient care and assistance; the systematic use at national level of third-generation tools for telemedicine, real-time diagnosis of pathologies and analysis of the health history of each patient; a new collaborative approach between general practitioners and different clinical fields.

Today - concluded Rossi - we must work to limit the need for new lockdowns and the isolation of patients, and to do so we need each other as well as to treasure the experience we have already done”.