Italian Healthcare

Submitted by Gabriella Dunay on the 2024 Winter HLTH program in Rome…

For the past two weeks, I have been shadowing doctors at Istituti Fisioterapici Ospitalieri in Rome! During this time, I have shadowed in three departments: dermatology, sarcomas & rare tumors, and orthopedics. While orthopedics was my personal favorite, each of these departments gave me an invaluable experience in learning more about cancer treatment, interventions, surgeries, and the Italian healthcare system.

In Italy, healthcare is free for patients and although this seems favorable given the high cost of health insurance in the United States, there are hardships with this system as well. Hospitals only have medical doctors as primary care providers, compared to the U.S. having physician assistants and nurse practitioners as well. With healthcare being free, the system is overpacked with patients in need and doctors try their best to fit in as many patients as they can every day. During my experience, I have seen doctors see almost 30 patients in the day clinic and perform 6 surgeries in just one day. I am excited to spend my last week shadowing in plastic surgery to wrap up this experience that has given me a broad outlook on global healthcare. (Submitted on January 21, 2024)