AIMed Breakfast Briefing will be taking place in Italy! Click here to find out more.

Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital situated in the capital of Italy is the birthplace of several innovations, including the World’s smallest artificial heart created in 2012. Weighing just 11 grams and handling a blood flow of 1.5 liters a minute, it was implanted into a 16-month-old baby suffering from dilated myocardiopathy, to keep him alive until a suitable heart donor was found. 

Prior to the achievement, the hospital also performed the implantation of the first permanent artificial heart in a pediatric patient with Duchenne’s dystrophy back in 2010. In the three-year period of 2011-2013, the hospital covered almost 50% of pediatric artificial heart implants in Italy. 

Apart from cardiology-related innovations, the 150-year-old medical institution is also the center of telemedicine. At the moment, there are about 700 juvenile patients with cardiac implantable devices that remotely monitored by this exact telecommunication technology. On top of which, children with Type 1 diabetes who require constant glucose control, are armed with a device which will transmit real-time data onto a platform that is closely supervised by hospital staff.

Another 50 patients with cystic fibrosis will also have their spirometry sent to their attending physicians on a daily basis to detect any early exacerbations of the disease. Earlier, a girl with an artificial heart was able to return home to prepare for her third-grade examination because of a plaster-mimic device which permits remote monitoring through mobile network and wifi. 

General AI landscape of Italy and challenges 

In terms of artificial intelligence (AI) and big data, the hospital had collaborated with IBM to look into prevention and treatment of pediatric obesity. Known as the Ob-Server system, it collects real-time data from overweight preschoolers age between six and ten years old in Italy. 

The project aims to increase the level of knowledge in the area; noting on the risk factors which contribute to the development of obesity and providing information for families, pediatricians, teachers and authorities for prevention and management purposes. The hospital wishes patients and their families to have more direct participation in care processes so that they can benefit from the digital transformation in the healthcare system. 

The vision coincides with the white paper released by the Agency for Digital Italy (AGID) in March 2018, entitled “AI at the services of citizens” which forms the backbone of how to better develop public services with the use of AI and ways to measure its impact and to eliminate possible biases. 

Indeed, the Italian makes it clear that going after innovations do not necessarily equate to the purchase of new technologies, but to start developing home-grown solutions and foster real cultural change. This may involve contamination of different disciplines that had never been in contact with each other before. For example, medicine and computer science. 

However, there is an overall inadequate reimbursement policy especially in medical services and legal guidelines to safeguard the interests of people shall there be an event of disputes and in need of liabilities.  

The latest AIMed Breakfast Briefing 

This Friday (28 June), AIMed will be hosting a breakfast briefing with Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital in Rome. Dr. Alberto E Tozzi, the hospital’s Chief Innovation Officer, and Research Area Coordinator will be chairing the session. Five speakers from the subspecialties of radiology and intensive care unit will take turn to speak at the panel discussion, to detail the current state of AI in medicine in the country, the recent applications of AI and issues that challenge AI in medicine and healthcare of Italy. 

The seminar is open to the public and is free to attend. You may register your interest here. You may also watch it live or revisit the session here. Do follow us on TwitterInstagramFacebook and Youtube for more details and upcoming events.

Author Bio
synthetic gene empathy chinese artificial intelligence data medicine healthcare ai

Hazel Tang

A science writer with data background and an interest in the current affair, culture, and arts; a no-med from an (almost) all-med family. Follow on Twitter.