Background The aim of this study was to assess by a census supported by the Italian Society of Cardiology (Società Italiana di Cardiologia, SIC) the present implementation of telemedicine in the field of cardiovascular disease in Italy.
Methods A dedicated questionnaire was sent by email to all the members of the SIC: data on telemedicine providers, service provided, reimbursement, funding and organisational solutions were collected and analysed.
Results Reported telemedicine activities were mostly stable and public hospital based, focused on acute cardiovascular disease and prehospital triage of suspected acute myocardial infarction (prehospital ECG, always interpreted by a cardiologist and not automatically reported by computerised algorithms). Private companies delivering telemedicine services in cardiology (ECGs, ambulatory ECG monitoring) were also present. In 16% of cases, ECGs were also delivered through pharmacies or general practitioners. ICD/CRT-D remote control was performed in 42% of cases, heart failure patient remote monitoring in 37% (21% vital parameters monitoring, 32% nurse telephone monitoring). Telemedicine service was public in 74% of cases, paid by the patient in 26%. About half of telemedicine service received no funding, 17% received State and/or European Union funding.
Conclusions Several telemedicine activities have been reported for the management of acute and chronic cardiovascular disease in Italy. The whole continuum of cardiovascular disease is covered by telemedicine solutions. A periodic census may be useful to assess the implementation of guidelines recommendations on telemedicine.
- quality of care and outcomes
- delivery of care
- public health
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Contributors NDB: planned and managed the study, wrote the paper and supervised the study. GM, FA and TZ: gathered the data. NDB and TZ: performed statistical analysis. GP, CI, FF and SC: revised the paper and supervised the study.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Ethics approval The study complies with the Declaration of Helsinki. No ethics committee approval was required on the base of the observational nature of the study.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request.
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