Anthropologist, CIO team up to tackle medication adherence in Italy

A mobile app for elderly patients in Italy helps better manage prescriptions drugs with an evolving user-experience design.
By Bernie Monegain
04:13 PM
medication adherence

Claudio Saccavini is CIO of Arsenàl.It Consortium of the Veneto Research Centre for eHealth Innovation who helped developed the patient app.

The Veneto region in northeastern Italy, extending from the Dolomite Mountains to the Adriatic Sea, comprises a large elderly population with a low use of digital technology and online services.

So Claudio Saccavini and Enrico Dal Pozzo of the Arsenàl.It Consortium, the Veneto Research Centre for eHealth Innovation, wanted to make it easier for citizens to manage their drug prescriptions using mobile devices. 

“Since Arsenàl.IT was already working on the development of eHealth services based on HIE regional infrastructure implementation, the first opportunity to put that approach in action came up when we began to think of a new service based on the existing ePrescription infrastructure,” said Pozzo, an anthropologist and ehealth service designer. 

So CIO Saccavini and Dal Pozzo joined forces to work with developers, citizens, patients, institutions, and health professionals to design a smartphone application.

The resulting mobile app, dubbed “Sanità km zero,” helps users manage drug prescriptions, dispensing and remote renewal requests.

In Pozzo’s view, it’s always helpful to remember that to adopt a user-experience design means to understand first that the activity does not end at the moment of the product release.

What was learned from the work? “We’d say that for the purpose of this project – as for any other project involving a user-centered approach – creating opportunities for negotiation, dialogue and discussion is crucial in order to make technical issues meet the added value brought by users’ daily experience,” he said.

“It has to be carried on throughout the entire lifecycle of the product in order to maintain its effectiveness,” he said. “After all, there will never be a finish line.”

They are already working to enhance the app, in fact. 

Posso, in fact, said they are incorporating “new functionalities for Sanità km zero app and the design of an internet portal for users to access personal digital health documents and services.”

Posso and Saccavini are slated to present in the HIMSS18 session, “User-Centered Design of a Mobile ePrescription Service,” at noon March 9 in the Venetian Delfino 4004.

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HIMSS18, Mobile