Telemedicine Becoming a Reality in Italian Pharmacies
The future of healthcare in Italy is taking a digital turn, as telemedicine services are becoming increasingly available in pharmacies across the country. While the speed of adoption may not be as fast as in other European countries, Italy is making significant strides towards bringing remote medical services to both urban and rural areas.
According to a survey by Federfarma, half of Italian pharmacies now offer electrocardiogram (ECG) services, with 32% of pharmacies expressing their willingness to introduce the service in the near future. Additionally, nearly half of pharmacies provide blood pressure and cardiac Holter services, with a growing number showing interest in expanding their offerings to include spirometry tests.
These diagnostic tests are conducted remotely and in real time, with reports certified by medical specialists. The push for telemedicine services in pharmacies is being spearheaded by Federfarma and its IT services company, Promofarma. The project, which initially involved just over 2,000 pharmacies in 2016, has expanded to over 9,000 pharmacies nationwide, with ongoing efforts to increase membership, particularly in rural areas.
The availability of telemedicine services in rural pharmacies closely mirrors the national average, with nearly half of them offering ECGs and a similar percentage expressing their willingness to do so. The survey also revealed that rural pharmacies are increasingly open to providing blood pressure, cardiac Holter, and spirometry services.
The implementation of telemedicine services in Italian pharmacies is part of a broader effort to modernize the healthcare system and improve access to medical care, especially in underserved areas. With the launch of a national platform scheduled for January 1st, 2024, the stage is set for the widespread integration of telemedicine into the practices of all Italian doctors.
While challenges remain in ensuring seamless and equitable access to telemedicine services, the progress made thus far is a promising indicator of Italy’s commitment to leveraging technology for the benefit of its citizens’ health. As the countdown to the national platform launch continues, the future of healthcare in Italy is set to be defined by greater connectivity and accessibility through telemedicine.