semi-unknown words of digital health for cancer patients

App, Account, Login: semi-unknown words of digital healthcare for cancer patients. Access to online tools and services are therefore an opportunity on paper, effectively denied in practice. This was confessed by 200 patients (13% between 20 and 40 years; 50% between 41 and 60; 37% over 60) residing mainly in the North (65%) in a questionnaire dedicated to digital illiteracy, recognizing that they need to be ‘educated’ use of digital technology. In theory, in fact, over 90% of the interviewees have a digital device but half, of the older generation, cut them off from accessing many new services, including health services; more than 70% chew the English terms App, Account, Login, instead of difficult to understand for 34% of patients; about 70% know the usefulness of the SPID for reservations, however activated with difficulty or with the help of a care-giver by 40% of patients.

The practice, on the other hand, tells of an important digital illiteracy: 80% of respondents have never used digital health services to request a medical record or make a reservation, 65% do not use the Electronic Health Record and 52% do not has enabled its health card for services. Finally, for 70% of patients, telemedicine is an unrecognized opportunity which they did not use even in the era of a pandemic. These are just some of the data from the survey: Digital in health: the needs of cancer patients, presented yesterday during the virtual event, promoted by ROPI (Rete Oncologica Pazienti Italia) and ASSD (Scientific Association for Digital Health)

In the face of data that denounce a strong gap in the field of digital health on the part of Italian cancer patients – declares Stefania Gori, President of ROPI and director of the oncology department of the IRCCS Sacro Cuore Don Calabria in Negrar (VR) – supports the request of the 65% of the interviewees to be educated and literate on digital technologies and tools for better management and use of services, or better governance in the management of their disease. Therefore, the overriding need to create a technology-based health literacy and, in parallel, the definition of a health technology for patients and the different interlocutors: managers of the public administration, clinicians, representatives of the institutions emerges. That is a training that involves all ‘digital’ caregivers in the broadest sense of the term and each according to their role, as a direct or indirect resource for the patient. Training to heal, even with digital technology, favors the ‘network’ towards a real participatory healthcare.

In the concept of the best way to take charge of the patient digital version – adds Laura Patrucco, EUPATI patient expert, member of the Board of ASSD and coordinator of the ROPI Patient Training Group – the first paradigm shift wants to be the culture of innovation as inclusion of the patient himself in the healthcare pathway. A treatment that sees its beginning in the acquisition of transversal skills, today especially in the field of teleservices and telemedicine. Digital technology to support tele-oncology to shorten distances and create interdisciplinary paths, in which adequately trained patients can acquire full awareness of the value of multidisciplinary digital healthcare as it is shared. With this survey we wanted to map those needs related to cancer healthcare for which patient engagement with digital services through training can represent a real treatment tool. A necessary concept that as an expert and in-formed Patient I continue to promote also in terms of digital patient advocacy. For expanded health. Because together it’s better.

As the ASSD Digital Health Scientific Association – concludes Gregorio Cosentino, President of ASSD – we are constantly committed to ensuring that digital technologies can play a fundamental role in transforming healthcare into a more efficient and patient-focused system. Care understood as the relationship between the person and the health system (doctors, nurses, socio-health professionals, etc.) does not change, what changes is the modality of provision both in terms of carrying out a medical act (telemedicine) and of organizing the related services. Digital is not a revolution but a necessity. Digital is not for the insiders but it is for the people. Digital must be designed with people and not just by operators / suppliers. Digital must make both people and operators grow culturally. Obviously, training is crucial. And this research has also revealed that the development of digital skills is now an unavoidable issue in the broader context of the training of patients, their caregivers and healthcare personnel. ASSD is present.

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