Primary healthcare and health district : Regulatory, functional and application aspects
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University of Bologna Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna Bologna Italy
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1806
Background and Objective:
The Health District in Italy is an organizational unit of the Local Health Authority system. It is deputed to analyze the District healthcare needs, plan economic and technical healthcare resources, and monitor healthcare services, according to the “Health Needs Assessment” model. During years the functions of the Health District have constantly evolved and now in consideration of the large European investments (PNRR) we would analyze with this article the challenges for a future Health District.

In the present paper we analyzed the legislation during the year on Health District function, governance and healthcare management. We collected the Italian population features on ISTAT data. We identified the best practices for a new Health District paradigm.

From a regulatory perspective, the functions of the Health District have constantly evolved since it was established in 1978, and they currently include production, governance, purchasing, planning, guarantee towards citizens and integration between territorial and hospital healthcare services. The Health District represents the practical application of the Primary Health Care founding principles and it can best respond to the peculiar Italian epidemiological and social setting. Given the progressive aging of the Italian population coupled with the increase in chronic diseases, the growth of small nuclear families that struggle to assist their sick elderly people and the rise in healthcare costs, a paradigm change is necessary to help move towards health promotion and disease prevention, as well as to implement strategies of healthcare co-production and community building.

In the current post-pandemic scenario and in consideration of the large European investments (PNRR), it is crucial for the Italian Health System to focus on the Health District organizational structure, and to identify and share its best practices in order to effectively respond to community social-clinical needs and improve the territorial healthcare services.

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