COVID-19 and digital competencies among young physicians: are we (really) ready for the new era? A national survey of the Italian Young Medical Doctors Association

Ann Ist Super Sanita. 2021 Jan-Mar;57(1):1-6. doi: 10.4415/ANN_21_01_01.


BACKGROUND: Digital health (DH) is nowadays fundamental for physicians. Despite the improvement of information and communications technology (ICT), Italian medical doctors’ (MDs) education system seems inadequate in this area. Moreover, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, societies are waking up to their limitations. The aim of this paper is to analyze the Italian status quo in DH.

METHODS: The Italian Young Medical Doctors Association (Segretariato Italiano Giovani Medici – SIGM) proposed a web-based survey to assess DH awareness and previous knowledge among young doctors. Investigated areas were: big data, -omics technology and predictive models, artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things, telemedicine, social media, blockchain and clinical-data storage.

RESULTS: A total of 362 participants answered to the survey. Only 13% had experience in big data during clinical or research activities, 13% in -omics technology and predictive models, 13% in AI, 6% had experience in internet of things, 22% experienced at least one telemedicine tool and 23% of the participants declared that during their clinical activities data collection was paper-driven.

CONCLUSIONS: Three categories of MDs, high-tech, low-tech and no-tech, can be identified from the survey-based investigation. Our survey’s results indicate an urgent need for integration of pre- and post-graduation training in digital health to provide adequate medical education.

PMID:33797398 | DOI:10.4415/ANN_21_01_01