Italy making a co-ordinated effort to leverage digital health, proximity tracking app plays a crucial role in the re-opening of the country


Italy shows an impressive effort to work together on a national level to leverage digital solutions to address COVID-19. In the plan to re-open the country the “Immuni” app is a very important initiative to control a new outbreak of the virus. The same solution is already being used in the Ferrari factory to enable the workers to come back to work.  The aim of these apps is to provide a way to monitor the proximity with the Bluetooth of the cell-phone to enable tracing of people who may have been infected during a phase wen the patient is not symptomatic. Doing this with careful consideration about data privacy. Read more about the concept here.

The use of digital health has been co-ordinated by the ministry of health with a specialist task force including 74 experts. They are currently evaluating all the proposals  from a fast call at end of March and are about to define a strategy for the use of digital solutions shortly. The regional HTA’s are also actively involved in several regions.

Here is a brief comment to the current use of different categories of solutions:

  • On-line assessment tool: Different Italian Regions have adopted one with different approaches in dealing with privacy and level of details
  • App for self assessment: Some Regions have promoted one
  • App for symptom tracking: Lazio Doctor per Covid app support the monitoring of symptoms.
  • Helps citizens to stay in contact with their GPs. In addition, in Lazio is available a App symptoms monitoring + a kit of digital device to conduct hotel monitoring waiting a negative test in patients previously admitted at Gemelli Teaching Hospital.
  • Pre-ICU tracking: Solutions are hospital specific
  • ICU Decision Support: Solutions are hospital specific
  • Proximity tracking: Under development and launch. Immuni is the national app for the second phase of the epidemic (out of lockdown)
  • Geo tracking (individual): It's not yet clear how these regional solutions will be adapted after the decision to adopt a national app fro proximity tracking. The app “Stop coronavirus Fvg” is ready and tested by Ict Insiel spa  and evaluated by Accenture. Friuli Venezia Giulia Region is awaiting authorization from the Italian government. I confirm that it isn’t yet clear if and how “Stop coronavirus Fvg” will be use with or in substitution of Immuni. “Stop coronavirus Fvg” was tested on 300 volunteers

We want to thank Dr Rossella Di Bidino from Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli IRCCS in Rome for contributing to the background to this blog.


digital health italy