Imagine having your medical history ready to hand at all times, wherever you are, and being able to open your clinical records – checked by you, the Patient, and updated exclusively by your treating physician. Whether it’s short or long isn’t important; what matters is that you have it all at your fingertips, with just one click, without having to remember details or ask anyone for assistance.
Are we talking about a science fiction film? Not at all, we’re looking at the near future. Digital Health and Digital Innovation are becoming reality right now. Taken together, they constitute Digital Healthcare (DH). Soon, we will have all our medical information readily available, through the shared and collaborative involvement of all administrations operating at central, regional, and local levels.
Three Steps to DH
To obtain such continuous and accurate flow of Patient information, there are three key steps. Digitalisation of the prescription cycle (online prescriptions), increase in the rate of Digital Innovation in healthcare companies (accessing a national database), and the implementation of consolidated electronic healthcare for each citizen via an Electronic Health Record (EHR, a USB stick containing personalised health data). While the first two steps regard the updating of National Health Services, the EHR is equivalent to the Patient’s digitised national health card.
The Electronic Health Record (EHR)
The EHR is the sum total of all data and digital health and socio-medical documentation which has been generated by past and present clinical activity involving you, the Patient. Having such a personal medical file is rather like when one might wear an ID card bearing personal information. However, it covers the Patient’s entire life and is continuously updated by those who provide healthcare within the national and regional healthcare systems. Did you change your doctor? The EHR is updated. Is my treatment changing? My digital file immediately reflects the change.
Europe in Support of Digital Health and Digital Innovation
Digital Innovation and Health are destined to become an indispensable support for the development and improvement of healthcare procedures in Italy. Still to be determined are the basic rules and regulations. To that end, there is a sort of arbiter in the process of defining those parameters: the EMA (the European Medicines Agency), a Europe-wide, impartial regulatory body, charged with creating a point of reference for the stabilisation of medical standards to ensure consistency of treatment, as well as to promote alignment with and awareness of our evolutionary progress towards Digital Healthcare.
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