Engineering: leader della Digital Transformation

E-Health

Five questions to...
Antonio Delli Gatti

Our Healthcare Division Director talks about the health challenges for 2021 and how Engineering can support partners in transforming the difficulties of the moment into opportunities for innovation.

1.

COVID-19 MADE THE YEAR 2020 A REAL STRESS TEST FOR ALL SECTORS: WHAT WORKED AND WHAT FAILED IN THE WORLD OF E-HEALTH?

Thanks to the capillary organisation and the collaboration between all professionals in the health sector, it was possible to redefine the needs for assistance and treatment almost on the spot. The organisational structures of hospitals were rapidly transformed, also thanks to information technology, in places where it was implemented in a more widespread and mature manner. This latter aspect immediately underlined how indispensable digital transformation is for making healthcare operations resilient - as well as high-quality. For digital technology, it was also a moment of greater acceptance in areas, such as telemedicine, which had been met with some resistance by citizens or health professionals.
The extension of the E-Health stakeholders also worked, which in order to govern this complexity "opened up" to other information domains, such as work, mobility and school. This made it possible, albeit in an embryonic manner, to acquire an increasingly ecosystemic vision of health protection.

On the other hand, local medicine and prevention activities in general are those which have shown the greatest shortcomings in preventing and managing emergencies. It is perhaps no coincidence that these areas are currently those with the lowest level of digitisation in the health landscape. In the most critical days of the pandemic, the value of data for taking appropriate decisions and supporting care activities was understood by all. A high 'information intensity' emerged, which is precluded by incomplete digitisation of health organisations at all levels. This incompleteness stems mainly from the implementation of technologies without being accompanied - or rather guided - by a real digital transformation of the processes, and their stable and organic inclusion within the care processes.
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2.

WHAT ARE THE THREE FUNDAMENTAL STEPS TO ACHIEVE A NEW NORMAL THAT COMBINES INNOVATION AND SUSTAINABILITY?

The first step is certainly to ensure that the use of digital services is systematically included in every area of care and treatment (a "total digitisation"), constantly checking that they are interoperable and able to aggregate data relating to citizens-patients and specific treatment paths. For example, 'remote services' will have to become one of the normal ways of providing health services, and not sporadic and limited experiences.

The second will be to reconcile the protection of privacy with the use of personal data, using them to create new services for the Population Health Management, so as to ensure sustainability not only in the field of health. The pandemic has illustrated that a broad knowledge base focused both on individual citizens and on the health needs of an entire population is more necessary than ever to prevent or control epidemic waves, which can also jeopardise the various aspects of the social system.

Lastly, it will be necessary to include the citizens/patients more closely, making them increasingly active nodes in the care and treatment network. This objective can only be achieved by making them more informed, aware and involved in their own diagnostic and therapeutic care procedures.

3.

LOOKING BEYOND THE PANDEMIC, WHAT ARE THE TECHNOLOGIES THAT CAN REALLY BRING INNOVATION TO THE WORLD OF HEALTHCARE?

The catalogue of technologies and their potential applications in healthcare is growing every day, and we are already working on many of them. The most important innovations will be related to AI & Advanced Analytics, for their revolutionary ability to guide clinical decisions, develop biosurveillance, evolve health governance and research. These technologies will be powered in an increasingly automatic and massive way, also thanks to the Internet of Things. It is easy to understand the importance that Cybersecurity will have in order to protect very sensitive data and the services that are created from them. The Cloud, together with mobile devices, which are already indispensable for supporting distributed and collaborative models, will have to make a further developmental leap. The Digital Twin in healthcare, on the other hand, represents one of the frontiers that will have to be explored most, a "new territory" with great opportunities for innovation and the continuous improvement of processes.
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4.

HOW IS DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION CHANGING THE CITIZEN'S EXPERIENCE WHEN USING SERVICES?

Digital literacy is progressively increasing even in those sectors of the population that were previously more marginalised. This is thanks to the extensive introduction in all spheres of life of Enabling Technologies (starting with AI & Advanced Analytics), which make the user experience 'more human' and 'more complete' in terms of procedures and needs, and to the widespread use of digital procedures, which in some cases are mandatory for users, as happened during the pandemic. The concept of the "democratisation of health services" has in the past seen digital technology as a potential obstacle, but today, for the reasons mentioned above, it is taking on an inverse role: that of simplification, extension and participation. This clearly ethical consideration should give rise to a further impetus for the involvement of citizens and professionals in co-design processes, in order to design (starting from processes) services and tools that are "tailored" to the new needs both of users and the healthcare system.

5.

HOW WILL ENGINEERING SUPPORT AND ASSIST THE PLAYERS IN THE SECTOR IN TRANSFORMING THE DIFFICULTIES OF THE MOMENT INTO OPPORTUNITIES TO OPEN UP NEW SCENARIOS AND NEW STRATEGIES?

Process expertise, capabilities in Enabling Technologies, and an aptitude for co-design (all genes present in our DNA), combined with the additional knowledge we gained working alongside our healthcare customers during the pandemic, allow us to embody a New Normal that is already today. In order to continue to be the "travelling companion" of the Health System in the Digital Transformation process, we are innovating and extending our offer mainly in the clinical field, with a particular focus on a few evolutionary axes:

  • data-driven medicine, through tools that support doctors in the formulation of the diagnosis, the choice of treatment and the best possible execution;
  • proximity medicine, with solutions and projects enabling models of care and treatment based on the specific area in which networks can be set up where citizens live and work;
  • remote medicine, through the implementation of brand-new solutions that make remote medicine a stable and integrated component in the organisation of treatments;
  • participatory medicine, through the involvement of the citizens/patients not only in the treatment, but also in the design of the paths to be followed and reporting tools.
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Antonio Delli Gatti

He has been involved in PA and Healthcare for over 20 years, holding positions as Commercial Director at both local and national level. In 2017 he was appointed Healthcare Director to develop and coordinate all commercial and production aspects of the Group's entire healthcare division.

Antonio is also one of the authors of the White Paper "E-Health" and contributed to the White Paper "Engineering The New Normal" and to Instant Paper "Our Post-Covid View on E-Health".

Contact us

marketing@eng.it
Tel. (+39) 06-87591