Innovative technologies for health and telemedicine

Innovative technologies for health and telemedicine

The Italian National Institute of Health (ISS) is involved in international and national research projects on the protection and improvement of public health status through research, development, optimization and evaluation of innovative technologies for public health using multidisciplinary expertise. 

The fields of activity range from medical devices and biomedical engineering, to radiological health, nuclear medicine, nanotechnology and innovative therapies, carrying out research, monitoring and training activities in the fields of radiobiology, quality assurance in radiological sciences, nuclear medicine, fluid and biomechanics, medical devices, regenerative medicine, electron microscopy, nanotechnology and innovative antimicrobial and regenerative therapies.

ISS has a long-standing experience in the field of medical devices (MD), traditionally studied both experimentally (developing test protocols for many types of high risk medical devices, in particular for cardiovascular implantable devices such as cardiac valves, stents, vascular prostheses, cardiac support devices, wearable sensor systems, virtual and augmented reality, robotics) and from a regulatory point of view, e.g. safety evaluation of nanostructured MD. Software applications (telemedicine and mobile health APP) are also monitored within the scope of medical device directives.

Computational studies are also carried out, for medical devices as well as for the biomedical engineering support to surgical planning, while evaluating and promoting assistive technologies in favour of frail people and body decoration practices for medical purposes.

In the field of regenerative medicine and tissue engineering, the ISS is involved in research, monitoring and training activities in order to evaluate the regenerative efficacy of tissues in case of serious accidents or serious pathologies. Innovative approaches through additive manufacturing (3D printing and electrospinning) are performed.

Specific lines of activity include research on innovative therapies, also by using drugs of natural origin, applied to communicable diseases, as well as studies on nanostructured medical devices, through their physico/chemical characterization, the analysis of their interaction with biological systems and studies on the influence of exposure to nanomaterials on the susceptibility to infections, ultrastructural studies in the field of infectious diseases, as well as radiobiological studies.

ISS promotes studies on advanced artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for the optimal and effective use of big data in healthcare and wellness (e.g. CT imaging) also at infrastructural level (federated learning).

In the field of telemedicine, health and socio-health services are created and monitored, providing collaboration to local bodies and organizations; elaborated and updated methods to manage IT security and clinical risk, as well as to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of these services. Furthermore, models for the design and management of telemedicine services, the use of real-world big data are developed and national and international clinical trials in telemedicine and precision medicine are promoted and coordinated.

ISS has autonomous prototyping capabilities (electronics, mechanics, fluid dynamics, 3D printing), thematic laboratories for research and innovation, irradiation services and centralized management of large scientific instruments. It also collaborates in the research and development of new biomaterials, new medical devices and new techniques for the appropriate clinical use of technologies in humans by means of ad hoc testing facilities (e.g. Universal static and dynamic testing machine and 3D microcomputed-tomography desktop system) presence and characterization of foreign bodies in drugs and food, safety tests on toys and consumer products.