The SUMMA project: A feasibility study on telemedicine in selected Italian Areas

Simonetta Scalvini, Caterina Tridico, Fulvio Glisenti, Amerigo Giordano, Silvia Pirini, Paolo Peduzzi, Francesco Auxilia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Telemedicine is achieving relevant clinical importance in rural areas in the management of patients. The Second opinion Unificata per Medici di Medicina generAle (SUMMA) Project was designed to evaluate the feasibility of a joint telemedicine service application across general practitioners and clinical specialists in Italy. The secondary objective of the study included the comparison of telemedicine with the routine general practitioners' approach and a cost-effectiveness evaluation. One hundred and thirty-five general practitioners from Lombardy, Molise, and Valle d'Aosta were enrolled. An ad hoc questionnaire was used to evaluate the feasibility, approval, efficacy, and satisfaction of telemedicine among the general practitioners. Ninety-three general practitioners used the telemedicine consultation (responders) for a total of 1,396 calls (1,264 for cardiology, 65 for dermatology, 32 for diabetology, 22 for rheumatology, and 13 for pneumology). In cardiology, telemedicine was used to address all problems without further action in 733 cases (61%). Ninety-eight percent of responders indicate satisfaction with telemedicine. The cost of telemedicine in our study was estimated to be 25.36 Euros/contact. In conclusion, the SUMMA Project demonstrated for the first time clinically the effectiveness of second-opinion consultation by general practitioners and therefore fulfilling the actual needs in areas usually managed by the National Health System.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-269
Number of pages9
JournalTelemedicine journal and e-health : the official journal of the American Telemedicine Association
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2009


  • General practitioners
  • Joint teleconsultation
  • Rural areas
  • Telecardiology
  • Telemedicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management


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