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Smart Inclusion arrives in Rome

Ministry for Government and Innovation, Telecom Italia and CNR-sponsored project inaugurated at the Bambino Gesù Hospital. The project enables young patients to enjoy a social life, connect with school and home, and play games

09/15/2009 - 02:45 PM

Today saw inauguration at the Bambino Gesù paediatric hospital in Rome of the "Smart Inclusion" project, which has been funded by the Ministry of Government and Innovation, received technological support from Telecom Italia, and benefitted from scientific coordination from the CNR-ISOF of Bologna. Attending today's event were Giuseppe Profiti - Chairman of the Bambino Gesù Paediatric Hospital; Josè Lyuis Marchute Redrado – Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care; Gabriele Galateri di Genola – Chairman of Telecom Italia; Luciano Maiani – Chairman of the National Research Council (CNR); Giovanni Biondi – Head of Department for the Planning and Management of Human, Financial and Key Resources at the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research(MIUR); and Emmanuele Francesco Maria Emanuele – Chairman of Fondazione Roma.

This is the first example in Italy of a fully-integrated technology platform that combines distance learning with entertainment and medical data management. The system allows long-term child patients easy and immediate access to their social life and the outside world, while at the same time offering healthcare staff advanced tools for treatment of their young patients.

Designed specially for long-term patients at the paediatric hospital’s onco-haematology department, “Smart Inclusion” fully leverages the potential of ICT to enhance the lives of people who are unable to or prevented from enjoying a full and independent social life. Following an initial implementation by ISOF-CNR and Telecom Italia at the Policlinico S.Orsola-Malpighi dell’Istituto Comprensivo n. 6 Hospital in Bologna, Minister Renato Brunetta has strongly backed extending this initiative nationwide.

Installation of the system at the Bambino Gesù Paediatric Hospital, a world-famous clinic for treatment and research into infant and child diseases, has also benefitted from Fondazione Roma funding. The first new implementation since the initial project in Bologna uses 28 "Smart Care" terminals for linkups between five elementary and middle school classes at the  “Via Giulia 25” comprehensive school, and the Paediatric Oncology and Haematology Units at the Advanced Therapies Interdisciplinary Unit (MITA in the Italian acronym).

The project takes advantage of an innovative, totally Linux-based technological platform put together by Telecom Italia. Following European Union indications, this approach combines advanced performance with savings of around €1,000 per workstation, and €500 per hospital terminal.
Located by the patient's bedside, the leading-edge "Smart Care" touchscreen video terminals Olivetti, which are equipped with web cameras, allow children to attend lessons, stay in touch with their loved ones, and access entertainment options simply by using finger pressure.

Live interaction with the classroom, teacher and pupils is possible in the Schools Section of the system via advanced IT systems installed in the classroom. Connected directly to an interactive electronic blackboard, children can see what is going on from their bedside video terminal. The Smart Care Terminal also allows children to view recorded lessons, complete exercises, and follow individual self-learning courses. The system will also interact with the Ministry of Education's Innova platform, and with traditional hospital ward education programmes.

The system’s Entertainment Section offers on-demand access to theme-based content ranging from cartoons to films, documentaries and sport. Patients may also use the system to place video calls to relatives. Even after they have left hospital, child patients can continue to follow their lessons from home via a web cam-equipped PC.
Following recommendations from the Ministry of Innovation, supervision by CNR-ISOF and technology support/funding from Telecom Italia (which financed a third of the basic project), by the end of 2009, Smart Inclusion will be rolled out to a further six hospitals: the Azienda Ospedaliera Mayer in Florence, Azienda Ospedaliera in Padua, Ospedale Infantile Regina Margherita in Turin, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo in Pavia, and the Ospedale Pediatrico Istituto G. Gaslini in Genoa.

Rome, 15 September 2009