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OCCAM at the VI International Medical Informatics and Telemedicine meeting

by Giovanni Zanoni

OCCAM participated in the VI International Medical Informatics and Telemedicine meeting took place on February 28, 2023, on the first anniversary of the conflict outbreak in Ukraine and three years after the first case of Covid 19 contagion was discovered in Europe.

The webinar aimed at promoting the role of telemedicine in supporting peace, by underlining the potential of IT infrastructure, remote education, and food and water access programs to help relieve suffering, promote justice and provide highly impactful healthcare worldwide, especially in underserved and high-risk locations where it is needed the most.

The meeting was chaired by the President of the International Institute of Telemedicine, Professor Francesco Sicurello, who opened the webinar by recalling the relevance of telemedicine in war situations and natural disaster scenarios.

The President of OCCAM – the Observatory for Digital Communication, Arch. Pierpaolo Saporito, was invited to the opening session of the webinar considering how the Observatory has always advocated for digital innovations in the field of telemedicine – among others – and contributed through the years to develop innovative solutions in this field of studies.

Arch. Saporito recalled the relevance of telemedicine as an effective and efficient means in the context of the Ukrainian war, warning about the necessity of improving telemedicine tools, especially those related to diagnosis at a distance and medical and pharmaceutical monitoring. He also recalled the work done by OCCAM through the years with Dr Scott Dulchavsky from NASA in the ICT Villages in Africa and Latin America where maternal care ultrasounds and other telemedicine tools were sent out to improve the living conditions of disadvantaged communities. He then drove the attention to the innovative and advanced solutions that already exist in the military context, such as field hospitals and surgical robotics, as well as digitalized and robotized centres used by the US army. In this context, he highlighted the necessity to transfer these best practices to Civil Society to help populations in need and injured military. He finally recalled the efforts that need to be undertaken by Italy and all European countries to create an effective and urgent telemedicine plan for emergencies and crises.

Other topics addressed by the participants to the webinar included: the role of telemedicine in emergency care, the use of telemonitoring and telerehabilitation tools, the role of Biomedical Technology (IBT) and Digital Assistive Technology (DAT), Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and Cybersecurity.

During its different sessions, numerous prominent speakers took the floor to illustrate the main telemedicine innovations that already exist and the ones that need to be further developed. For instance, Gianni Pellicanò, from the Neuroradiology unit at Careggi Hospital of Florence, showed how telehealth platforms are playing a crucial role for Ukrainian patients. Hariton Costin, from the Institute of Computer Science in Romania, illustrated the main telemonitoring projects in his country and highlighted the main barriers that telemedicine has to face nowadays. Fabrizio Clemente of CNR in Rome showed the process that has been undertaken to design a telemedicine service and Fabio Paolo Marchesi, researcher and member of the New York Academy of Sciences, talked about simple biomedical devices based on infrared rays and the innovation they can give in the telemedicine context.

The International Medical Informatics and Telemedicine meeting represented a relevant and international opportunity for major experts in the telemedicine fields to exchange different views and solutions about telehealth innovations to continue developing better tools from which all people can benefit.

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