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Enrico Maria Piras

Senior researcher
  • Phone: 0461314126
  • FBK Povo
Short bio

I hold a PhD in “Information Systems and Organization” (University of Trento) and I'm a researcher at Fondazione Bruno Kessler since 2008.

My research activity focuses on health infomation managament and sharing, healthcare infrastructures, and the technology-mediated coordination of healthcare professionals and patient in telemonitoring.

I'm also a member of the university-based Research Unit on Communication, Organizational Learning and Aesthetics of the Trento University (Rucola;  and ) and adjunct professor at University of Verona where I teach "Methodology of Organizational Research" and "Sociology of Organizational Processes". 

  1. E. M. Piras; A. Zanutto,
    Le pratiche di gestione personale dei dati sanitari tra cognizione ed emozione,
    , (AISC2010, Settimo convegno annuale dell’Associazione Italiana di Scienze Cognitive,
    Trento, Italia,
    da 12/02/2010 a 12/03/2010)
  2. B. Purin; E.M. Piras,
    Personal Health Records among institutions, medical records, and patient wisdom. A socio-technical approach,
    , (3rd International ICST Conference on Electronic Healthcare for the 21st century,
    Casablanca, Morocco,
    da 12/13/2010 a 12/15/2010)
  3. A. Moser; M. Clerici; B. Purin; EM. Piras; S. Forti; P. Laurino,
    TreC study: personal health record for patient empowerment,
    Many studies have demonstrated that patients involved in their health care management have better outcomes compared to those who are not involved and the Personal Health Record (PHR) seems to have great potential in improving the patient empowerment.
    In this context we would like to present a web-based PHR System called 3C (Cartella Clinica del Cittadino).
    The project, funded by the Provinci Autonoma ot Trento (north-eastern Italy with around half a million inhabitants), is developed and managed by the Bruno Kessler Foundation (FBK) and has, among its partners, the School of Vocational Training for General Practitioner (GP). The System will become a service offered by the APSS (local public health service).

    This web-based PHR is a platform of services and applications, designed around four main activities: health information management, shared care with relatives and doctors, keeping all health practitioners informed, and patient-to-patient information sharing.
    The 3C System has three main features.
    First of all it is an Electronic Health Booklet of medical reports, instrumental examinations and laboratory test results, available directly from health institutions.
    Secondly, it is a Health Diary where storing personal observations about the personal story of life and illness; patients can decide to share this information with their relatives in order to support the active participation of their families in health care process. Finally the System aims to improve relationships and communication between patients and their health care providers (GPs and specialists).
    We will report the results of the first period of test of the PHR on a sample of citizen living in Trento and on its outskirts, in order to assess its usability, acceptability and criticism.,

  4. Luciano Pontalti; Diego Conforti; Enrico Maria Piras; Stefano Forti,
    Cartella Clinica del Cittadino-TreC: uno strumento per l’empowerment,
    Monitor. rivista trimestrale dell'Agenzia Nazionale per i Servizi Sanitari Regionali,
  5. Enrico Maria Piras; Barbara Purin; Marco Stenico; Stefano Forti,
    Prototyping a Personal Health Record taking social and usability perspectives into account.,
    ehealth 2009,
    , (ehealth 2009,
    Istanbul, Turkey,
    23/09/2009 - 25/09/2009)
  6. Enrico Maria Piras; A. Zanutto,
    Enrolling citizens through technology. Laypeople as "junction workers" in new health care infrastructures,
    , (ESA 2009; 9th Conference of the European Sociological Association,
    Lisbon, Portugal,
    02/09/2009 a 05/09/2009)
  7. Alberto Zanutto; Enrico Maria Piras,
    The (opaque) practices of taking care of personal health: empowering laypeople through technology?,
    , (ESA 2009; 9th Conference of the European Sociological Association,
    Lisbon, Portugal,
    02/09/2009 a 05/09/2009)
  8. E. M. Piras; A. Zanutto,
    The crisis of western health care sector is strongly influenced by the reduction of professional caregivers and the increasing costs needed to manage complex institutions such as modern hospitals. Among the many solutions proposed to overcome these problems, two seem to be widely adopted. On the one hand, health organizations have become a privileged locus of technological innovation and ICT’s have been extensively implemented to enhance intra/extra organizational coordination. On the other hand, patients (and their families) are asked to carry a growing burden of health-related activities in order to supplement the formal caregivers, taking part in caring for themselves (i.e. self monitoring, self care).
    In this paper we discuss the rise of the Personal Health Record (PHR), a yet-to-be-implemented technology that appears to support both patients’ involvement and ICT’s use. PHR is an electronic application through which individuals can access, manage and share their health information. A PHR could be a repository of personal health information (allergies, list of medications, tests) and a part of doctor-patient relation allowing doctors to retrieve data (e.g., disease history) and to write notes or prescriptions on it. In a broader perspective, PHR is seen as a patient-centered information hub, allowing on line access to health care system (e.g., lab tests) but also personal data entry (i.e. glucose level, blood pressure, weight) or even a biological will.
    While often presented as an electronic tool to empower laypeople, PHR can also be considered as a workaround to solve the problem of information exchange among the many different and (usually) not interconnected electronic records used by clinicians. From this standpoint any single user of a PHR can be considered as the ‘maker’ of a junction of a much broader health infrastructure, bridging the gaps between the existing systems. This infrastructure, though, would rely on laypeople, as it would ‘be activated’ only by their actions. In this respect, to design a viable technology, it is to be understood how and why laypeople would be willing to use such a system.
    A preliminary study was conducted to identify the health-related needs of ordinary citizens so to create a PHR to be implemented at a regional scale (500.000 people roughly) in northern Italy. 50 in-depth interviews revolving around health management in the household were conducted to understand a) how people manage their paper medical record and b) how the records are used to build shared account between patients and doctors.
    The analysis show that people, even the non-ill, are implicitly asked by the healthcare system to carry on some tasks to keep the service provision running smoothly. This work, unrecognized as such, is mainly the information management needed to keep all doctors on the same page and the coordination work needed to make doctors job easier. The analysis of the health record keeping patterns led us to identify three different strategies: ‘minimalistic practices’ – when there is a simple unstructured record repository-; ‘erratic practices’ – when health issues require a highly tailored constant rearrangement of data to sustain the medical interventions; ‘network practices’ – when the health problems of an individual are managed by an ad hoc constituted network of caregivers.
  9. Alberto Zanutto; Enrico Maria Piras,
    Prendersi cura della salute personale: aspetti tecnologici e lavoro “oscuro” dei pazienti,
    Il lavoro che si intende presentare riguarda una riflessione sul ruolo crescente dei cittadini nella
    gestione della loro salute e dei dati ad essa riferiti con particolare riferimento alle tecnologie PHR
    (Personal Health Record) consentite dai recenti sviluppi delle ICT (Information and Communication
    Gli strumenti PHR definiscono una tecnologia software basata su web che permette a tutti di gestire,
    condividere e accedere alla propria documentazione medica. Attraverso le opportunità di condivisione
    dei dati con il personale sanitario e i propri network parentali, è possibile creare e mantenere attiva una
    rete formale / informale di soggetti che concorrono al sostegno del proprio equilibrio di salute. Allo
    stesso tempo questa tecnologia di dominio prevalente dei cittadini permette di ripensare la relazione
    medico -paziente.
    Abbiamo condotto uno studio preliminare per individuare le pratiche quotidiane e le esigenze in
    materia di salute dei cittadini in modo da progettare una PHR, da applicare su scala regionale in una
    provincia del Nord-Italia.
    Abbiamo realizzato interviste a domicilio cui è stata associata una osservazione di tipo etnografico per
    identificare le pratiche (oscure) che i pazienti mettono in pratica per facilitare il lavoro degli operatori
    sanitari. Abbiamo suscitato racconti di percorsi medici e di terapie affrontate per comprendere le
    principali tipologie di conservazione e interrogazione dei dati sanitari prodotti nel tempo e archiviati
    presso il proprio domicilio. Sono state così raccolte informazioni molto utili per studiare come le
    persone gestiscono la loro salute.
    Sono state raccolte 50 interviste in profondità su: persone che avevano in carico soggetti “dotate” di
    particolari libretti sanitari (pediatrico, diabetico, ecc.); persone che avevano avuto particolari
    complessità mediche da affrontare (patologie oncologiche); persone che non avevano particolari
    incidenze patologiche. A tutti è stato chiesto di rendicontare la relazione ‘paziente-informazionipersonale
    L'analisi mostra che le persone, anche non malate, debbono implicitamente rispondere alle
    sollecitazioni del sistema sanitario e svolgere alcuni compiti per garantire la possibilità di ricevere
    prestazioni sanitarie. Questo lavoro dei cittadini, non è riconosciuto come tale, rimane in ombra, è
    oscuro (opaco), e tuttavia è un lavoro fondamentale per mantenere efficiente il contributo del personale
    L'analisi cerca di individuare alcuni modelli tipici di conservazione dei documenti relativi alla salute e
    ha portato ad identificare tre diverse strategie: a) il modello delle pratiche minimaliste; b) il modello
    delle pratiche mutevoli; c) il modello delle pratiche di network.
    Queste osservazioni presso il domicilio dei pazienti, corredate da relativa documentazione fotografica
    è stata confrontata con la retorica dell’empowerment dei pazienti. Retorica che vuole ulteriormente
    caricare di impegni i cittadini affinché il sistema sanitario possa esprimere al massimo la sua efficacia.
    Inoltre questo lavoro ha permesso di avviare una relazione dialettica con gli sviluppatori del software in
    modo da includere queste pratiche nel sistema al fine di semplificare la gestione delle informazioni e la
    relazione con il sistema sanitario. Il lavoro pone forte interrogativi sulla tradizionale relazione univoca
    tra sistema sanitario.
  10. Enrico Maria Piras,
    Costruire una infrastruttura intermittente,
    II Convegno Nazionale STS Italia,
    , (II Convegno Nazionale STS Italia,
    Genova, Italy,
    19/06/2008 - 21/06/2008)