Sviluppo tecnologico e coscienza etica: quale ruolo nell’integrazione ospedale-territorio? Focus sul progetto R@dhome
Marco Grosso, Davide Minniti, Marika Giacometti, Matteo Scardino, Alessandro Martino, Lena Manzo, Roberta Siliquini, Ottavio Davini
Europe currently has the highest proportion of older people in the world and is expected to maintain this leading position for the next 50 years. Population ageing is a great challenge for public health care systems as well as for economic development. As nations age, the prevalence of disability, frailty, and chronic diseases is expected to increase dramatically. The hospital, which at the moment is the first choice for the delivery of acute medical care, is not an ideal environment for frail, elderly patients. New functional impairment and iatrogenic events such as nosocomial infections, pressure sores, falls and delirium, are common during hospital stay. With developments in medical and other technologies, people with very complex conditions can increasingly have the possibility to remain at home or in nursing homes rather than in hospital. Technologies can also improve the quality of life of patients and informal caregivers, allowing people to receive care and remain active at home and in the community, instead of being institutionalized. These societal changes, such as needs of health care cost reduction and an aging population, are the main driving force for the development of telemedicine, especially for elderly patients. Residents in nursing homes or patients treated at home by community care services are usually old or very old, multimorbid and often cognitively impaired. For these patients transportation to the hospital for X-ray examinations may be an exhausting and disorienting experience. They are collected by an ambulance or taxi and taken away from their environment and people they know. Patients wait in hospital corridors to have a fairly simple X-ray done and then wait for the pickup. The first objective of R@dhome is to move equipments instead of patients in order to give a response to the “geriatric tsunami” and to the demand for more flexible health services, providing a view to advancing the economic efficiency of this service. Teleradiology has become an essential part of the practice of radiology, with broad implications for care delivery and the organization of work: combining teleradiology and domiciliary. X-ray examination has the potential to greatly improve the quality of care for elderly frail patients with acute or chronic conditions. Until now no wide randomized study on radiology at home has been published. Hence main aim of this project is to carefully analyze feasibility, safety and cost-effectiveness of a public, extra-hospital and domiciliary radiology service for frail elderly or immobile patients, more vulnerable to environmental and social changes than other groups of patients, which health conditions discourage the transportation to hospital.
Key words: Ageing, Frailty, Disability, Telemedicine, Costs, Teleradiology, Ethics