The laboratory conducts research on how new technologies and new media (specifically social media, apps for smartphone and tablets, digital health andweb 2.0 tools) impact on health professionals’ education and updating and which implications they have on the disease prevention and care of patients. The laboratory is also involved in studies on the use of social media as a tool to communicate and promote health, specifically by hospitals, medical centres, and health organizations. Moreover, research activity includes highly specialized lectures, seminars and courses for health professionals’ and health communicators’ education and updates on the use of digital health, digital therapeutics, social media, and web 2.0 tools.
Survey on the Use of Health Apps and Wearables Among Patients
The Laboratory of Medical Informatics, together with the Laboratory of Medical Research and Consumer Involvement, collaborated with the Digital Health Innovation Observatory of the Milan Polytechnic Institute. The laboratory coordinated and conducted the survey "Digital Innovation of Health and Care: Insights from the Italian Associations for Patient Advocacy". The survey collected and analyzed the point of view of patient association representatives on the impact, use and obstacles of new digital technologies for health, with particular reference to health apps and wearables (such as wristbands and smartwatches). The main results, published in 2018, illustrate that these tools offer new opportunities to involve patients in the various processes concerning the management and knowledge of their state of health. Health apps providing information and services, and those facilitating drug compliance are the most used. Their use, however, especially for medical purposes, is limited, as patients - and patients' associations - are waiting for more evidence showing their real efficacy as well as interventions that make their use easier. Use of Social Media by Italian Local Authorities as a Means to Communicate and Promote Health The use of social media by the Italian local health authorities for health communication is still limited to experiences of little importance, as shown by some research groups. In a project conducted by the Laboratory of Medical Informatics (in collaboration with the Univiersity of Cagliari), the aim was to investigate how much and in what manner the Italian local health authorities use social media for health communication and promotion. Results have shown that Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are currently used respectively by 47%, 38%, 33%, 9%, ad 6% of the 101 Italian local health authorities. Most of the communicated information is related to the launch of articles published on the official website. In only a few cases social media are used for health promotion purposes. On average, they use 2 social media accounts opened on different social media sites (11% of them at least 3).
Survey on the of social media tools and health apps for smartphones and tablets among Italians
The laboratory is involved in surveys whose aim is to describe how physicians and health professionals are using social media tools (with particular interest in Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube) and medical applications for smartphones and tablets. Similar types of surveys have been conducted in collaboration with the ANMCO (Italian Society of Cardiologists) and SIU (Italian Society of Urologists) to discover how these tools are used by Italian cardiologists and urologists. A recent survey of 965 Italian physicians (26% general practitioners or paediatricians, and 74% other healthcare professionals) shows that Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram are used respectively by 52%, 16%, 37%, 77%, and 21% of respondents, but only one of three (respectively 15%, 6%, 25%, 26%, and 2%) use them for their work. On average, the physicians declared using 2 social media accounts on different social media sites. To communicate with their patients, 84% reported using e-mail systems, 64% WhatsApp, and 60% SMS.
Survey On The Of Social Media Tools Among Italian Physical Therapists
A new survey on the use of social media tools was conducted in 2018 among 477 Italian physical therapists who are members of the National Italian Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (SIMFER). Preliminary results show that Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube are used, respectively by 67%, 21%, 45%, and 87% of respondents, but only a minority of them use these tools for their work. Instagram (30%), Pinterest (12%), and Telegram (13%) are other social media sites used by the responders. To communicate with their patients, 87% reported using e-mail systems, 64% WhatsApp, and 50% SMS.
The laboratory is involved in training activities on issues related to the use of digital health, digital therapeutics, health apps, social media, and web 2.0 technologies in medicine. The training activity is addressed to health professionals and health communicators. The members of the laboratory staff held (or attended as invited teachers) a number of training courses, workshops, and master courses. Onsite CME courses for Italian physicians are also delivered using the training/educational facilities and equipment available at the Mario Negri Institute.
International Consensus on Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation.