Symposium: E-Health Solutions for Cancer Patients and Their Caregivers

Naples, Italy – January 11-12, 2024

The symposium, held at the historical venue of the Congress Center of the University of Naples Federico II, has been organized in the context of the Erasmus+ project E-Health4Cancer with the scope of putting together all stakeholder involved in the support of cancer patients and their caregivers. The perspective of the oncologists and, more generally of doctors and health professionals was complemented by that of the caregiver associations, sociologists, and engineers, so to share different perspectives and point of views, with the final overarching objective of promoting and boosting the digitalization of the cancer care by sharing exemplary practices in the use of nonclinical e-health solutions across Europe.

Cancer remains a pressing global health issue, with the number of new cases projected to significantly increase over the next decade. The E-Health4Cancer project aims to facilitate easier access to affordable and user-friendly nonclinical e-health solutions for patients and caregivers in Europe. By creating a comprehensive guide on Good Practices for nonclinical e-health solutions,

the project seeks to provide practical insights into more effective health management, enabling patients to actively participate in their care.

The symposium served as a forum for cross-fertilization among diverse experts – all united in their shared pursuit of advancing cancer care. The exchange of knowledge and experiences is expected to contribute significantly to one of the pressing challenges for European Union, that is, enhancing cancer care across Europe.

The symposium kicked off with a warm welcome from Pietro De Lellis, Associate Professor of University of Naples Federico II (UNINA, the host university and partner of E-Health4Cancer) who shared the greetings from Ciro Verdoliva, general director the Local Health Unit in Naples (the ASL Napoli 1), associated partner of E-health4Cancer; and from Cristina Mele, the Delegate of the

Rector for Innovation and Third Mission at the same University, who expressed the support from the Rector for the initiatives carried out within the project.

The first speaker of the meeting, Vaia Pantazi, from Kapa3, the project coordinator, provided an overview of the primary project objectives of E-Health4Cancer, describing the main results achieved so far and delineating the next steps for the team. Then, with Mattia Pirani, delegate of the Small Medium Enterprise Innovation to Grow and member of the European Project DIOPTRA,

we discovered how cutting-edge apps can be designed to foster the cancer screening. Mattia illustrated an innovative app, under development within the DIOPTRA project, for the prevention of colorectum cancer. Exiting synergies between E-Health4Cancer and DIOPTRA were noticed, paving the way for future joint initiatives.

The afternoon session presented local initiatives for cancer patients that have been enacted in the Campania region, which is Italy’s third most populous region (5.82 million) and the most densely populated (410 inhabitants per squared kilometer). Dr. Tiziana Spinosa, an associated project partner from the Local Health Unit ASL Napoli 1, described the integrated online platform, the Campania Oncology Network (ROC), that unified the access to cancer care for all patients within the region. Dr. Bruno Daniele, Head of the Multispecialty Oncology Reference Center (CORP) at the Ospedale del Mare, shared insights into this innovative, integrated approach to oncology care, showing how the digital platform has been effective in substantially reducing the time to treatment for the patients.

The second day of the symposium started with an exploration of cancer care practices, with Lars Münter, from the project partner DCHE, who is a dedicated champion for health literacy and self-care in Europe, and illustrated the preliminary insight on the best practices that will be included in the guide for supporting cancer patients and their caregivers. Camilla Ancona, PhD candidate in

Techonology, Innovation, and Management from the University of Naples Federico II, presented a critical review of existing E-Health solutions in Italy and Europe, offering valuable insights into the current landscape. Then, the symposium continued with a session on the intricate psychological aspects of the journey of a cancer patient and of their caregivers with Dr. Valerio Imondi, psychologist with expertise on the support of cancer patients. The symposium was ideally concluded by the heartfelt speech by Fokion Dimitriadis, from the project partner EPIONI, who advocated for the rights and needs of the informal caregivers, who make the heavy lift of supporting cancer patients where the healthcare system does not or cannot intervene.

As Naples welcomes these distinguished thought professionals and advocates, the symposium is poised to be a catalyst for improvement in digital cancer care.

For more information on the E-Health4Cancer project, please visit the dedicated project webpage: