Digital Disruption in Italy
Digitalization, a hot topic throughout the healthcare and life sciences industry, is having a major effect in Italy through more personalized home care for patients, allowing the government to cut costs, and enabling greater public access to innovative medical technologies.
Many private sector stakeholders see mobile health and telemedicine technologies as a great tool to cut costs through promoting community and homecare solutions and reducing patient visits to medical facilities. Phillips Italy CEO Stefano Folli highlights one study from the UK and Netherlands where “they have successfully reduced the percentage of readmissions for patients with certain chronic diseases by roughly 70 percent,” by enabling “doctors to check on patients remotely with data collected in the home, relayed via mobile health technologies to their physician at the hospital who could then give feedback.” Yet, according to ResMed’s commercial director Nadia Cortesi, thus far “telemedicine, a key differentiator in tender processes, is not yet used widely in Italy due to the expense.” She explains that while “hospitals and patients are very interested in getting access to telemedicine, and conceptually people know it will likely reduce costs holistically in the long run,” unfortunately “payers are not very open to making the necessary investments today.” Indeed, KPMG partner Alberto de Negri concurs that “institutions are often reluctant or anyways slow to take innovation as an opportunity to change the way diseases are treated,” however he also argues that life science companies can do more to “adjust their “global” value propositions to the local situations and to become an actor in national/regional discussion about the improvement of the whole “value chain” of the treatment of diseases.”
ResMed, who produce innovative devices to treat respiratory pathologies such as sleep apnea and COPD, is doing just that. Cortesi underscores that her primary goal is to “help the public administration to understand that they need to think for the long-term, which they are not doing at the moment.” First, ResMed has more than validated their value proposition by conducting “long term clinical trials and health economics studies that demonstrated that patients treated with high performance devices exhibit lower rates of re-hospitalization and less prevalence of correlated diseases,” and is currently “conducting studies in conjunction with our headquarters to demonstrate conclusively and precisely the benefit our telemedicine solutions can bring to healthcare providers, hospitals and patients.”