OPeNet is born, a digital clinical platform with artificial intelligence

An intelligent system which allows General Practitioners (GPs), following access to a single platform, to keep in touch with patients even remotely. Which allows the general practitioner to have training support always available for chronic diseases, at the moment heart failure and psoriasis. Tell the GP when patients are at risk of developing certain diseases or could benefit from a re-evaluation of therapy. That allows you to make teleconsultations. A system that updates in real time, analyzing the structured and unstructured data present in the medical records, generating insights to support the patient’s care path and his state of health, allowing a more effective intervention in monitoring adherence to therapies. AND OPeNet, the platform born from a collaboration between Net Medica Italy, Novartis e IBM Italia which is already used by more than 500 family doctors throughout the national territory.

The Covid pandemic had a significant impact on health services, which recorded a significant decline: a recent analysis conducted on 20 countries, including Italy, compared the health services provided in the first six months of 2020 with those performed year before. The results showed an overall reduction of 37% in healthcare services, higher for outpatient visits (42%) and lower for hospitalizations (28%), diagnostics (31%) and therapeutic treatments (30%)[1]. A situation that has particularly affected local health care and access to care, weighing especially on people with chronic conditions and their care. In Italy today there are 24 million patients suffering from chronic diseases, equal to about 40% of the population, of which 12.5 million with multi-chronicity.

The model that puts the hospital at the center has shown all its limits, both in the management of Covid patients and chronic patients. For this reason, the PNRR aims to redesign proximity medicine by focusing on more proactive territorial assistance, aimed at home care, and on telemedicine which, as also envisaged in the Chronic Care Model, represents an increasingly central element in management of chronic diseases.

OPeNet contributes, thanks to‘Artificial Intelligence applied to the healthcare database, to rebalance this situation, favoring an effective “initiative medicine”, which makes it possible to offer proactive and personalized assistance, through early diagnosis and remote management, intervening before the pathologies worsen and before hospitalization. An integral part of this new model is the integration between the territory and the hospital, creating a network between GP and specialist.

Why OPeNet?

‘Open’, because the Net Medica Italia platform allows you to integrate and exchange data with the management systems and platforms used by family doctors; ‘-and-‘ because it exploits the artificial intelligence of the IBM Watson system to improve the path of care of the chronic patient through information and tools useful to the doctor; ‘Net’ because it favors the network and the connection of the main actors involved in the patient care path by exploiting all the potential of technology and telemedicine.

How does it work?

With an open structure that, thanks to the Net Medica Italia services platform, is able to integrate with a large number of tools and management systems, the platform is equipped with a Virtual Assistant for the Doctor, based on IBM Watson Assistant[3], and developed by the consultants of IBM Italia able to provide the general practitioner, 24 hours a day 7 days a week, updated information on chronic diseases available at the moment. Furthermore, thanks to the different integrated applications (API) of IBM Watson[4] specifically integrated into the Net Medica Italia platform, general practitioners will be able to receive an alert when their patient data meet the requirements (triggers), predefined thanks to Novartis medical-scientific skills, allowing the doctor to evaluate how to intervene. The data of the medical records used by OPeNet are anonymized in full compliance with the GDPR regulations. One of the main qualities of OPeNet lies in the integration with the management of the GP through the services of Net Medica Italia, to encourage new channels of collaboration with the Specialist for a consultation on the patient’s clinical picture and on the therapies administered.

OPeNet is a virtuous example of collaboration between companies in different sectors: Novartis puts its medical-scientific skills relating to chronic diseases at the service of this project; Net Medica Italia is responsible for the creation of the patient care and telemedicine platform, which integrates the technology and functionalities developed by IBM Global Business Services, such as artificial intelligence applications, to improve the care pathway of the chronic patient through information and tools useful to the doctor. Thanks to OPeNet, the family doctor has more time to dedicate to patients; it is connected to the specialists with whom it can collaborate more easily; it has a tool for identifying the most fragile patients and can manage patients remotely.

“COVID has brought to light the limits of the health care model adopted so far, based on the central role of the hospital – declared Nicola Calabrese, president of Net Medica Italia -, revealing new needs for optimal patient management, and in particular those with chronicity, and consequently new needs for the general practitioner. Digital technology represents one of the responses to this changed scenario, favoring an evolution of the doctor-patient relationship, the role of the GP and the relationship with the specialist “.

Thanks to the joint commitment of Net Medica Italia and the Novartis Embrace Advisors who operate throughout the country, the OPeNet platform has already been activated by more than 500 GPs and over 900 have applied for activation.

“The pandemic has highlighted the need to transform the chronic patient care system,” he said Pasquale Frega, Country President and CEO of Novartis Italia. Digital in the health system can facilitate the evolution from a model centered on the hospital and with a silo logic, to one based on a systemic vision of healthcare, which can favor the development of a real initiative medicine. With OPeNet, Novartis offers an important digitization tool that will improve healthcare, according to an increasingly proactive model of medicine, closer to the patient and more attentive to their needs ”.

“In the last year – declares Stefano Rebattoni, CEO of IBM Italy – technological innovation has shown that it can make a fundamental contribution in providing quality health services, in safety and sustainability. Supporting that continuum of patient care, diagnosis, care and assistance, the founding pillar of an effective and efficient healthcare system. The central element of this path is the data and information that technologies such as cloud, artificial intelligence, blockchain and the internet of things can make available in a timely manner to all the players in the system, from doctors to patients. The OpeNet project, developed with Novartis and Net Medica Italia, is a concrete example of this type of solution. Those that the country needs to face the digital and transformation challenges it faces, and on which IBM Italia intends to provide its best and full support. “

The theme of how digitalisation favors proximity and initiative medicine will be explored during the event “Technology: bridge between doctor and patient”, scheduled for 20 September at 6 pm on -Health. The event will be attended by Daniela Scaramuccia, head of the IBM Italia consultancy team for the public sector and health care and Nicola Calabrese, President of Net Medica Italia.


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