ID WORLD International Congress: Elena Sini

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Elena Sini

CIO – Italian National Cancer Institute

Speaks at ID WORLD on Healthcare Innovation

Elena Sini has been the CIO at Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori (a Scientific Research and Treatment Institution of renowned excellence in the field of pre-clinical and clinical Oncology) since 2001.

She leads the ICT Unit coordinating own internal staff, managing outsourced operations, planning internal budget and managing an own investment plan. This means: on one side managing existing systems, on the other side upgrading IT support to clinical and research processes and fostering innovation. Thus, change management starts from requirements analysis, project planning, resource allocation, to also defining technical details of bids and managing all aspects of implementation activities.

Her activities reached significant goals: e.g. the Help Desk and Fleet Management Services ranked among the top thirty outsourcing processes in a worldwide selection by ‘Outsourcing Center’s Awards’ (USA 2003); an RFId project on transfusion safety has been awarded the “IDC EMEA 2007 Award for ICT Innovation” and selected at the Conference “Towards a European Policy on RFID” promoted in 2007 by the EU Presidency.

Elena Sini has started her career at the RAI Research Centre, where she focused on digital video encoding quality issues. Then she moved to TELE+ as their representative for the National Communication Authority, where she contributed to the White Paper on Digital Terrestrial Television.

She is also Assistant Professor of Information Systems at the Università Carlo Cattaneo.


Automatic Identification and Data Capture technologies, and RFId above all, are proving to be key for reaching new levels of security, traceability, and process control in clinical settings. Surveys in Italy show increasing numbers of applications, but, despite valuable opportunities, Healthcare ICT vendors are still not ready to adopt and leverage these kind of innovative technologies as an integrated part of the organizations’ Healthcare Information System.

The Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori in Milan (Italy) started experiencing RFId in Autumn 2005, with a prototypal tool for transfusions. Since then, the CIO recognized the potential of such a pervasive technology in clinical and research processes, and approached change building an infrastructure, on which applications are gradually “hooked up” to daily support processes with high traceability or safety needs: staff is provided with RFId identification badges and WiFi handheld terminals (PDAs), RFId-printers and PC RFId-rearders are installed in nurses’ and physicians’ workspaces, Wi-Fi network is widespread.

This had impacts also on standard procedures, like patient admission or OR check-in: wristbands were chosen as unique patient identification devices, to which applications must refer to.

By now, applications are spreading within a coherent specification framework and address: clocking&access control, inpatient/outpatient haemovigilance, time and temperature traceability of surgical specimens from OR to the frozen tissue-biobank, workflow management for radiotherapy and bedside radiology. 2011-2012 developments are addressing: safety of chemotherapy treatments within a scenario of centralization and automation (activities started from a project funded by the Italian MoH), blood donation management, tracking of surgical tools.

Arrangements have been done to extend some applications to other hospitals in the Lombardy Region and to start a pilot test of a Regional Social Healthcare Smartcard for staff and citizens with embedded RFId technology.

Change management and lack of literature/legislative references to guide healthcare organizations approaching this technology are major challenges to be discussed.



Speaking on November 3

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