As a former biomedical engineer Marco Foracchia CIO of Reggio Emilia Local Health Authority, is a man who likes a plan. But when he returned to his home town after a 10-year international career, he was forced to change gear and become flexible and agile as his ICT team led the technology race against COVID-19.
Foracchia immediately saw the power of how population analytics would help during this medical emergency - which ripped through the mountainous Emilia-Romagna Region - as it would not only help track the cases but, with the intervention of telemedicine, keep patients in their homes and avoid hospitals.
“As a leader I had to help my team think out of the box. We are a big machine and usually follow all the rules, especially as we are mostly engineers so that is how we are built. But during the pandemic we had to be a lot more creative and flexible and we had to do things differently.”
Foracchia is relishing the fact he has returned home to focus on a healthcare system which is driven by data analytics. “Suddenly my job is also to take care of my grandparents and my community is now the focus of my everyday job, which is great,” he said.
“Although I chose to be an engineer, I am from a family of physicians, doctors and pharmacists so I have always been the odd one out in the family. It must be fate that I am now working in the medical field as the CIO for [the] Reggio Emilia Local Health Authority.
“As I have an international perspective I am able to bring new ideas and connections to the local level. I always try to keep my eyes open. I'm really interested in technologies that analyse data and population analytics which really showed its power during the pandemic. It was impressive to have the capability of analysing data as soon as it was produced and watching the geographic distribution of new cases.
“Although ICT is in some ways collateral from the main business of healthcare, I believe it can make a difference if you do it properly, stick to the real goals, have a vision and not just focus on everyday business.”
As a biomedical engineer Foracchia enjoyed an international career in Research & Development on medical devices and scientific computing in the US, Japan and Germany.
According to Foracchia a good leader should know where they are going and show the big picture and look beyond the small details.
“That's very important because a leader has to show they know where they are going for their team to follow as this motivates them. As I always tell my colleagues, try to imagine the future. This is especially true in hard times, such as during the pandemic, you should try to look forward as this has always helped me.
“Also if you see the big picture, then you get an idea of the main goal. Our previous CEO Dr Fausto Nicolini was a visionary and always looked to the future which is always important in healthcare,” he said.
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