Are Italian medical societies bridging the distance from citizen and patients? associations? Results of a survey.


Introduction. In the framework of PartecipaSalute ? an Italian research project aimed to involve lay people, patients? associa- tions and scientific-medical representatives on the health debate ? we carried out a survey with the Italian Federation of Medical Societies. The aims of the survey were to know medical socie- ties attitude vs. patients involvement in research activities and healthcare setting and to find out possible projects conducted in partnership with patients associations. Results. A web-questionnaire with 17 closed questions, and three open questions has been prepared on the basis of some experiences published on the literature and through the col- laboration of members of the Italian Federation of Medical Societies. A total of 205 medical societies has been contacted by e-mail with a cover letter explaining the aims of the survey. At the end 74 medical societies completed the survey. Medical societies participating to the survey varied widely in terms of years of activity, number of members, and geographical distri- bution. Remarkably, 36 medical societies respondent organized collaborative initiatives with patients/consumers associations during the last three years. Among these, the most frequent were the preparation of written material for patients, organiza- tion of conferences or workshops, and health awareness cam- paigns. Moreover, 6 medical societies published documents on patients? rights but patients or their associations were involved in only 2 of these initiatives. Advantages and disadvantages reported by medical societies answering are also presented and discussed. Conclusions. In conclusion, to our knowledge this is the first survey on the value of patients? involvement conducted together with medical societies in Italy, and the results point the way to stronger collaboration in future between patients? associations and medical societies.