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SmartCare project: visit of the Trieste site

Picture: SmartCare Site Visit, March 2015, Trieste, Italy © EPF

As a member of the SmartCare project’s User Advisory Board (UAB), we took part in the site visit of the Muggiea area, Trieste region, Italy in March. SmartCare promotes a more integrated and effective approach to providing health and social care to older people across Europe. This region represents a real-life “laboratory” as it is one of the Italian regions with the highest percentage of elderly people.

The project installed several pilot sites all across Europe to test integrated care pathways that are supported by Information and Communications Technology (ICT). The project’s User Advisory Board is conducting a series of site visits to evaluate the user experience and involvement in the services.

The region of Friuli Venezia Giulia (FVG) is using a platform that integrates health and social care information and actions, treatment and care provided by professionals. The resources mobilised for the ICT platform are drawn from the already existing service configuration.

Different devices used to measure oxygen, blood pressure, glucose, cardiac rates, weight, etc. that send immediately the information to the platform via Bluetooth, which reduces enormously the risk of entering  wrong data.

Alerts are set to appear when figures are out of the normal parameters of the patient. The nurses, who play a pivotal role in this system and who regularly visit multi-morbid patients with social needs, receive the alert via SMS to their phone.

Devices seem to be very user friendly as patients, even of old age, use them either independently or with support from informal carers. The platform of information seems very easy to use and intuitive. There are further actions to merge the platform with existing databases on health records.

During the site-visit, we were able to witness the real-time feedback process in action. The patient received a phone call to alert her of her increased blood pressure, probably due to the excitement caused by several visitors in her home”, shared Walter Atzori, EPF Senior Programme Officer.

The principles of integrated care were already embedded in the professional culture and within the organisation of health services in the region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. This means that the role of the ICT infrastructure and info-structure provided by SmartCare is mainly to facilitate and streamline already existing well-established processes and practices, which seems to be the key for implementation success.

Contact: Walter Atzori, EPF Senior Programme Officer, walter.atzori@eu-patient.eu