Digital: Cattaneo (Unisa), ‘many benefits to citizens from dematerialization of procedures in health’

“A process that will have many positive effects on citizens”. It is the digital transition in the health system, which will lead to a dematerialization of many procedures, as explained to Adnkronos / Labitalia, Giuseppe Cattaneo, professor of IT at the University of Salerno, who, 4 years ago, founded with Csa Unidoc, a university spin-off that makes use of experience gained in the field in specific sectors of the Public Administration, such as Healthcare and Territorial Bodies, and which aims to provide turnkey services for the definitive elimination of physical supports.

“The advantages of digitalization in healthcare – explains Cattaneo – are many: errors are reduced, the flow is speeded up and above all, more streamlined internal processes are set up”. Cattaneo gives an example that is there for all to see: “For years they tried to remove films from x-ray examinations and go digital: it took 10 years, from 2000 to 2010, a period in which everyone looked at this with bewilderment. cd that was delivered instead of the ‘plate’. But now the advantages are fully understood. The first advantage for a citizen (and we here in the South see it daily) is the ability to move and go to hospital for treatment without having to carry heavy and often incomplete folders of papers. It’s an effect of the speed at which digital data moves. ”

However, the professor warns, “it is unthinkable to go from analogue to digital overnight”. “Many data today – underlines the expert – are born digital natives, such as those of diagnostic images, but a lot of paper documentation is still produced in hospitals. For this reason, the real added value of the digital transition are the capabilities such as those expressed by CSA to mix legacy sources with digital sources “.

“Even at the clinical level there is a great impact in being able to analyze certified data, with clear semantics, qualified from the point of view of readability. We no longer have those who go down into the archive and pull out medical records with presumed data, but dematerialized medical records from which we can extract an enormous wealth of information, important both for science and for these new therapeutic frontiers such as genetics and biological drugs, which also need to be monitored. With clear digital data the clinical history of a patient is reconstructed and it is also possible to understand why a drug acts in one way on one patient and in another way on another “.

Interoperability is then the challenge to be overcome, because there can no longer be platforms that do not communicate with each other even in the health sector, “a very Italian phenomenon”, observes Cattaneo: “The whole of Italy has a differentiated gradient on interoperability – adds the expert- and I must say that in Campania in the last 5 years a lot has been done on this aspect. The data is no longer the property of the hospital, it is the property of the patient and above all there is an Electronic Health Record to be fed and beyond the case of treatment they must remain alive and must be usable. Today everything hinges on interoperability ”.

On the issues of digitization, Cattaneo sees a “country that had already reacted before the pandemic”. “The pandemic – he observes – has given a shock to those who had turned away from seeing the change. Honestly, the projects that had already started have only accelerated and everything that was impossible yesterday can now be done: the pandemic has undermined the taboos on the insuperable obstacles to change ”. (by Mariangela Pani)