The Project “626Net: Telemedicine for safety in productive activities” enabled us to evaluate the application of advanced communication technologies to the company’s prevention and security system, based on valid samples of enterprises located in the whole region. Services’ information provided to Apulian Enterprises community is then conveyed to the citizens, to the main voluntary associations, to health professionals such as GPs (general practitioners), occupational doctors and pharmacies, to create a network spreading all over the territory. Within the P.O.R. PUGLIA 2000/2006, Axis VI Networks and Services nodes – measure 6.2 action C) with DGR resolution No. 1130/2002 – the call “Initiatives to support the Enterprises and Professions System” was issued, intended to co-finance with structural funds by European Community some projects aimed at improving services to members and citizens provided by that system. The regional headquarter of Italian Hospital Doctors Coordination has therefore presented a project aimed at monitoring territorial companies employees’ health quality through a Telemedicine system known as “626Net“.

Project’s main objective consists in activating a Net-Community through an integrated programme of actions useful to provide Apulian enterprises with a circuit of services, reports, assistance, information in the prevention field, health protection and safety in the workplace. Furthermore, the project aims at developing and supporting analysis, evaluation and risk prevention activities in small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as creating a system which guarantees health and safety in the workplace through a widespread use of new technologies, capable to register the epidemiological trend and the need for assistance in the workplace, with concrete results to integrate with the socio-sanitary and economic policies currently being implemented in the region.

The results of INAIL-CENSIS last research project (year 2001), show that during the observation period (1996-1999) the incidence of employment accidents has grown in Apulia and other Italian regions (Veneto, Marche, Lazio, Abruzzo, Campania, Calabria and Sicily) while decreasing in the remaining regions. This research has also shown that though there is a decline on accidents’ incidence index (from 58.8 in ’96 to 57.2 in ’99) for men, as far as women are concerned, the index rises in the respective years from 23.6 to 26.2. One of the conclusions drawn from data examination is that the increase of the accidents’ rate particularly affects those regions where there are less industries and more commercial and tertiary activities, often traditional or not innovative and still in the race to enter into the technological and organizational innovation processes. These conclusions are particularly adaptable to the Apulian system which, as we know, is characterised by the extreme dimensional fragmentation of local SMEs which, as highlighted in the Regional Research strategy paper, makes it appropriate to promote targeted aggregations of smaller companies interested in similar innovative processes and resources, to bring out economies of purpose that can in some way compensate for the deficiency of those of scale. Aggregation between SMEs constitutes, therefore, the vehicle to enhance the propelling factors of the small dimension, leveraging the benefits resulting from economies of purpose and mechanisms of resonance and imitation, through development of relations of mutual trust and dissemination and sharing of knowledge that induce innovative adaptive behaviours, stimulating also proactive entrepreneurial aptitudes. Therefore, Apulian system’s “reaction” to the increasing incidence of accidents must go through the creation of an evolved and low-economic impact network of services for SMEs which often do not have, within them, the necessary management and technological skills needed to handle innovative processes. At the same level, an high social impact of the actions carried out over the territory must be ensured, through the pursuit of targeted and selective development objectives, in line with the economic and social context factors of the territory, achievable through the creation and strengthening of a net-community among SMEs for the use, shared and at a low-individual cost, of innovative technologies and human resources with high levels of knowledge. This will help to support the demand for unspoken or only potential technological innovation, due to companies’ small size, and also to increase economies of scale linked to the introduction of new technologies for the latter.

The proposed strategy for an optimum achievement of the objectives set out in the next point is characterized by the following peculiarities: creation of a partnership and strengthening of the consensus on the initiative by the Institutions concerned, expressing a real collaborative will between all fundamental components of the socio-economic regional system (associations of companies, professional associations, companies and specialist competence suppliers). The involvement of employer associations, then, will help to increase and disseminate in companies the awareness of the opportunities that the Information Society also offers in relation to the protection and improvement of health and safety on workplaces; precise division of tasks, roles and responsibilities within the partnership of the project. An executive committee composed by one member of each Partner will be appointed and it will be responsible for the quality verifying process and for project activities’ internal control, so that any criticality and technical- methodological risks can be promptly identified and, therefore, corrective measures can be immediately activated; creation of a net-community among SMEs able to: significantly affect Apulian companies’ levels of innovation; promote the widest circulation of knowledge; express, as well as better in-depth in point 1 (needs of the socio-economic context), local needs; create multidirectional relations that can address the issue of prevention and protection of health and safety in the workplace. This network will offer the possibility of experimenting with new tools and new services, while promoting new habits and operating methods within Apulian enterprises.

The Project’s general goal is to effectively affect Apulian SMEs’ community in order to spread knowledge, tools and applications of the Information Society, by trying to encourage the experimentation and dissemination of telemedicine services applied to the prevention, protection of health and safety in the workplace field. The general objective will be achieved through the following specific objectives: Apulian entrepreneurial context check in the use of information society’s tools and applications in the telematic field applied to protection and improvement of workers’ health; quantitative and qualitative examination of about 400 companies, aimed at defining information requirements, orientation and preparation of Apulian enterprises for the use of specialist telematic services applied to the prevention, protection and improvement of health and safety in the workplace; identification of 150 companies located throughout the region, to be included in a process of experimentation with the use of specialist telemedicine services; creation and activation of an “e-health” service centre able to provide, also within the company, “on line” specialist diagnosis and consulting services; creation of the “Work Care” portal, initially dedicated to Apulian SMEs, which contains complete and easily accessible information on health and safety protection in the workplace, useful to implement stable and continuous collaboration relations to facilitate a constant information, consultancy, data and documentation flow; creation of a technological platform integrated with videoconferencing systems, to guarantee continuous assistance and information to doctors, entrepreneurs, security managers; activation of dissemination, awareness and information actions on the telemedicine services’ use applied to the prevention, protection and improvement of health in the workplace.


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Work Care _ 626Net --

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