The Italian public health system offers excellent standards of health care and hygiene, with highly trained medical staff.
The best hospitals are generally found in Northern and Central Italy, many of which have excellent reputations for specialized treatments. There are also a number of highly regarded university hospitals. Private hospitals (cliniche), many run by the Roman Catholic Church, offer a pleasant alternative to the sometimes basic facilities of public hospitals. Some specialize in particular fields of medicine, such as obstetrics and surgery, rather than being full-service hospitals.
All Italian health care providers belonging to the INDIGOMED network are located in Italian regions where an accreditation agency exists, and they are certified by those agencies as well as, in some cases, by JCI.
A national law requires accreditation to be established by all Italian regional governments, which define their own models and standards based on national guidelines. The Italian accreditation system aims to select both structures and individual medical professionals responsible for providing health care services on behalf of the Italian National Health System. To date, the main duties of the Regional Agency for Health Care have been:
- to review regional legislation through a comparative analysis of requirements and procedures
- to publish documents illustrating the general features of the accreditation mechanism and presenting the current legislation
- to supply materials and documents for the elaboration of national guidelines
- to monitor the stages of development of the regional models
- to support the regions in defining and implementing the accreditation process
- to provide communication and information tools
Of 19 regions and two autonomous provinces, Friuli, Venezia, Giulia, Lombardia, Trentino,Piemonte, Emilia-Romagna, Toscana, Marche, Molise, Sardegna, Calabria, and Basilicata have set up accreditation systems or are in the process of doing so.
These regional initiatives are monitored by the National Agency for Regional Health Services in Rome, which collaborates with the regions to support and survey health activity including accreditation, indicators, guidelines, etc. Participation in the accreditation program is mandatory for public and private institutions and represents a basic condition to be funded by the SSN (Servicio Sanitario Nazionale).
The Joint Commission International has provided accreditation to several hospitals in Milan, Rome, Naples, and other Italian cities. The JCI provides on-site and off-site assistance and recommendations to enhance performance via intelligent medication management processes, the prevention of MDROs (multi-drug resistant organisms) in hospitals, and the prevention of infections associated with health care, thereby creating safer environment for patients, staff, and visitors.
Each region has his own accreditation and certification regime, inspired by international standardized methodologies; Piemonte and Lombardy use ISO 9000; Liguria, Emilia-Romagna, Marche, Tuscany, Veneto, and Puglia have introduced a model adapted from the Joint Commission International and the Canadian Quality Standards; the system in the Marche region is accredited by the ALPHA Council of ISQua; the system for Trentino uses the Joint Commission International model, along with the EFQM Excellence Model application system.