Italian Ministers Announce Timetable for Investment in Digital Health
On January 8, 2022, Minister of Health Roberto Speranza and Minister for Technological Innovation and Digital Transition Vittorio Colao, in an article published in the Italian press, made a number of announcements about the timing of the Italian government’s intended investment in digital health. This investment forms part of the Italian Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP).
On July 13, 2021, the European Council approved the final version of the RRP. The RRP is part of the EU Next Generation program (NGEU), namely the €750 billion package of which €222 billion has been allocated to Italy.
Through the RRP, the Italian government intends to invest €15.63 billion in the healthcare sector. Specifically, it intends to invest more than €2 billion in healthcare digitalization.
On December 15, 2021, the Interministerial Committee for Digital Transition attributed to the National Agency for Regional Health Services (AGENAS) the task of managing the implementation of the digitalization process at the national level.
As part of the timetable announced by the ministers were the following opportunities for investors and operators in the Italian digital healthcare sector:
Healthcare data infrastructure – Within the first semester of 2022, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Economy and the Department for Digital Transition will issue calls for tenders for the allocation of funds for the improvement of health data infrastructure. To this end, the RRP provides for the allocation of €1.67 billion for the strengthening of the national technological infrastructure for the collection and processing of healthcare data. In particular, the RRP envisages the improvement of electronic healthcare records through which citizens’ health information is collected and made available to patients and healthcare professionals.
Telemedicine platform – The creation of a telemedicine platform to connect demand and supply of telemedicine services will start by February 2022 through the creation of a public private partnership (PPP). Through the PPP, private entities will be invited to propose technological solutions, from which the Italian government will choose the one(s) that best meets its needs. The AGENAS will collect expressions of interest starting from January 2022, after the publication of a public notice. For the creation of this platform, the RRP provides for a total investment of €20 million.
Telemedicine services – The Italian government will distribute a total of €1 billion to Italian regions that activate telemedicine services through calls for tender to be launched by the summer of 2022.
The RRP, therefore, provides potentially significant opportunities for investors and operators interested in participating in the upcoming public procurement tenders for providing digital healthcare data infrastructure, a telemedicine platform and telemedicine services in Italy. For those who are interested in these potential opportunities, it will be crucial to monitor closely the actions of the government in the coming months and to understand common pitfalls in Italian public procurement tenders – as well as how to avoid them.