In the present days, hospitals worldwide are grappling with multiple issues due to the majority of facilities being outdated and ill-equipped, and Italy is no exception. Hospitals are complex ecosystems and involve several stakeholders, from the design phase to daily operativity. Currently, Italy lacks unified regulation for the whole sector; there is no common ground among professionals and experts in various disciplines. Regional approaches are often conflicting and inconsistent with each other. Lack of common regulations results in misunderstanding and lack of cooperation between parties, ultimately leading to inefficiency, increased cost, and the lowering and inhomogeneous quality of the infrastructures nation-wide.
The project provides the basis for the new Norma Terminologica UNI, the Italian national industrial terminology standard on healthcare design.
The aim of the project is to allow experts, professionals, and institutions to use on a daily basis the mentioned toolset: the UNI Terminology Standard and, subsequently, UNI Standard. The project uses multiple methodologies to achieve the goal. The strategy of composing the terminology standard is divided into two phases: the research and selection of terms, and the matching definition. The first part was conducted with the close collaboration of JRP-HI committee and expert members: their feedback was gathered through meetings and targeted surveys, resulting in a process of constant iteration and mutual exchange between scientific research and industrial experts’ opinion. The terms were sourced through different approaches: a scoping review of scientific literature, the Piano-Veronesi Meta-project review (MD 12/12/2000), and the comparison between international healthcare legal regulations. The group also attended PhD and Master lectures, took an active part in JRP-HI meetings and other conferences and visited in firts person some hospitals known to be best practices in Europe. The innovative method for selection of the terms allowed to start from an initial count of 1041 words, then filtered until 499, divided into 15 macro-areas for organizational purpose.
The project and its resulting glossary, that will pave the way for improved communication among experts, is the starting point for the future UNI Terminology Standard and shall not be considered as a mere collection of words, but rather a methodological example for other research works alike, characterised by continuous dialogue between scholars and field professionals.