UPMC in Italy Receives U.S Government Funding to Provide Telemedicine Care for Frail Patients

By: Francesca Valagussa

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded UPMC in Italy $1.8 million to implement a telemedicine platform in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this year, USAID, which leads the United States’ international development and humanitarian efforts, committed $50 million in total to support the Italian health system’s response to COVID-19.

Under UPMC’s proposal, the telemedicine technology will be accessible, patient-focused and easy to use. It will be deployed to care for the frailest patients, helping Italian hospitals to better manage remote visits, reduce congestion in health care facilities and decrease the risks associated with postponing routine care. Trials of the new platform will start in the first six months of 2021, and health care providers will participate in training sessions to ensure the highest levels of safety and efficiency.

“Thanks to the support of the U.S. Government, UPMC in Italy will be able to build an integrated telemedicine platform based on the state-of-the-art practices we have developed over the course of 20 years in Italy,” said Dr. Bruno Gridelli, executive vice president of UPMC International and country manager of UPMC in Italy. “The Italian health care system will benefit from an innovative tool that helps to manage this emergency and improves the flexibility of and access to health care services long term.”

USAID selected UPMC to receive this funding as a result of the health system’s innovative proposal for a new model of care, its ability to collect and interpret clinical data and its experienced team of health care and technology professionals in Italy.

Beyond the pandemic, telemedicine is applicable to many health care specialties, including chronic disease management, oncology and behavioral health. With this in mind, UPMC’s planned telemedicine platform is scalable and modular, designed for future expansion.

“The pandemic has brought telemedicine to the forefront of health care, presenting us with an opportunity to protect the most high-risk patients, reduce costs, collect useful data and treat patients in the comfort of their homes,” added Gridelli. “Looking beyond the pandemic, this platform will create increasingly immediate and personalized health care in Italy.”