Next Generation Health:
Italians’ Priorities for the Future Health System

Digitization and new skills, access to care “beyond the hospital”, greater uniformity and equity in healthcare provision throughout the country: Italian citizens seem to have very clear ideas about priorities and expectations with respect to our health system. And above all, they are increasingly convinced that having a universal health service is an indispensable value. 

This is what emerges from the survey carried out by Doxa Pharma for Janssen Italia, the pharmaceutical company of the Johnson & Johnson Group.

ITALIANS CHANGED THE WAY THEY APPROACH HEALTH – The Covid-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the perception of health in the values horizon of Italians. Before the health emergency, in fact, 66% of Italians already declared that health was the most important thing, but during 2020 this figure has steadily increased: in September the percentage of Italians who put health first were 72% , while in November they rose up to 78%. In addition, attention to health in general has also grown, with the vast majority of Italians (81%) agreeing that prevention is the best cure.

Faced with a more complicated accessibility to health services, almost all Italians (92%) had to and have been able to experience a new method: they received medical prescriptions electronically, without encountering any difficulties. However, only for a few (15%) the way they consult with the doctor has changed but, at the same time, more than 6 out of 10 citizens express a high propensity regarding the future use of different ways of relating to clinicians, aware that the remote visit involves several advantages, including the shorter time lost waiting for the visit (61%), the lower risks associated with the need to leave the house (57%) and the lower costs for travel and transport (54%).

ITALIANS’ OPINION ON THE NHS AND ON THE HEALTH CARE OFFER – The Covid-19 emergency, however, also highlighted the historical criticalities of the National Health Service, highlighting the need to rethink the organization of healthcare in our country. The needs and expectations of Italians are an indispensable starting point in the attempt to design the possible guidelines for a more modern, sustainable and close to citizens healthcare. First of all, the certainty from which to start again is that Italians highly appreciate the value of the universal model of the NHS (over 86% of Italians).

The research then revealed that, according to the citizens, the area that would require immediate intervention is the booking and management of visits which, during the months of the lockdown, suffered a sharp slowdown.

HOW TO IMPROVE THE NHS? – To respond to these key issues, Italians have clearly expressed the areas on which to intervene to redesign the health of the future: 92% are in favor of multi-specialist territorial controls in the area, in order to avoid having to always resort to hospital, and 72% would appreciate the domiciliation of therapies, even if the role of territorial control of pharmacies and the consequent role of health consultant played by the pharmacist remains strong. Similarly, 90% of Italians believe that the digitalization of medical prescriptions and the digital channel in general have become essential, especially for the field of diagnostics and to facilitate the doctor-patient relationship, with 76% in favor of remote medical visits, even for the future, and even in the absence of complex situations like the one we are still experiencing. There are no distinctions, however, on the request for greater uniformity of the healthcare offer: 86% of respondents believe that it should be the same for everyone because “we all live in Italy”, regardless of the region they belong to.

THE ROLE OF PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES – Finally, from the research it emerges that for 1 interviewee out of 2, pharmaceutical companies are called to make their contribution not only in terms of research, production and subsequent accessibility of drugs, but in a broader perspective for the functioning of the system, supporting and financing structures and providing more and more patient support.

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