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Looking for a Doctor Near Me or Telemedicine: What's Best in Italy?

Italy, with its rich history, stunning landscapes, and delectable cuisine, is a popular destination for tourists. But what happens when you're traveling and suddenly need medical attention? Knowing how to access medical care is essential. In this article, we'll explore the best solutions for tourists seeking medical assistance in Italy, emphasizing both in-person visits and telemedicine options.

Italian health system - crowded waiting rooms

In-Person Doctor Visits: Navigating the Italian Healthcare System

Understanding the Italian Healthcare System

Healthcare Coverage: Italy provides universal healthcare coverage for its citizens and those that are staying in the country for work or studies, but it's not entirely free. Emergency Medical Assistance is available to anyone in need, regardless of nationality, without upfront payment. The Italian National Healthcare Service (SSN) combines public and private systems to offer medical assistance.

Quality of Care: Italy's healthcare system ranks high globally in terms of performance, according to the World Health Organization. Italian doctors are highly qualified, and life expectancy in Italy is among the highest in the OECD group of countries. On the other hand, in recent years, due to aging population of physicians, relatively low salaries for doctors in Italy and inadequate number of new doctors in the system, there's a shortage in medical doctors that is well pronounced outside large cities.

Co-Pay Fees ("Ticket"): Most services require cost-sharing through a co-pay fee called "Ticket." This fee applies to emergency room visits, specialist consultations, diagnostic procedures, and lab analyses. The amount varies by region and patient status (some exemptions exist for low income and serious illnesses). This applies to on-going medical care and is relevant for residence an those who use the system on a regular basis.

Access to Public Healthcare in Italy for Foreigners

Tessera Sanitaria: Italian citizens or permanent resident with a staying permit need a valid Tessera Sanitaria (Italian Health Insurance Card) or an equivalent card from another EU country (such as the EHIC card). If you are not an Italian citizen, a permanent resident, or in Italy with a permit for work or studies, you cannot apply for it.

ASL and Public Hospitals: Public healthcare is administered through regional health units called ASL (Azienda Sanitaria Locale) and public hospitals. ASL offices manage clinics, vaccination centers, labs, and walk-in clinics. In order to use those services you need to be enrolled to the healthcare system and have the health insurance card.

In conclusion, although Italy boasts a commendable healthcare system, tourists have limited access to it, with the exception of emergency services. It is important to note that navigating the various functions within the system requires Italian proficiency, presenting a secondary accessibility challenge for tourists.

A possible solution for tourists and travelers seeking medical care in Italy could be private doctor's visit at their clinics. In theory, it could be a reasonable solution; however, you need to schedule an appointment and find a doctor who speaks English (Finding and scheduling are also available in Italian.). This type of solution is effective only in large cities, mainly Rome, Florence or Milan where you can find doctors that you can communicate with, In other locations, this would be a relatively challenging endeavor. Consider the time and travel expenses involved in reaching a doctor's clinic in a large city with which you are unfamiliar..

wondering in Italian city
Looking for the doctor's office in Rome

Pros of In-Person Visits

1. Personal Interaction: Meeting a doctor face-to-face allows for a thorough examination and personalized care.

2. Cultural Context: Local doctors understand the cultural context of Italy, can provide tailored advice for tourists in Italy and suggest possible options for continuation of care or laboratory visit if needed..

3. Emergency Situations: Visit is not suitable for emergency cases. If you feel you have an emergency, call 112 for an ambulance or go to a nearby hospital.

Cons of In-Person Visits

1. Language Barrier: Communicating in Italian can be challenging or virtually impossible for non-Italian speakers.

2. Finding the doctor's clinic: Locating a particular clinic in an unfamiliar city can be a daunting task. At times, street names and signs, as well as directions to the clinic's location, may be hard to come by.

3. Waiting Times: Wait times may vary based on location and time.

4. Your regular medications: Medications taken in one country often have different names elsewhere, and people tend to remember the brand name rather than the drug's composition, which can lead to confusion for an Italian doctor trying to understand the correct medication.

5. Total costs of the medical consultation: Considering the costs of travel and the visit, plus the half-day spent reaching the doctor, and not forgetting the disruption to your original plans (including any potential financial losses), this solution turns out to be quite costly in the end.

6. Limited availability: As noted, securing an appointment with an English-speaking doctor outside of major cities, particularly in southern Italy or the islands, can be quite challenging or nearly impossible. Additionally, if you require further information after leaving the clinic, revisiting may be difficult or unfeasible, as tourists are constantly on the move.

Telemedicine: An Ideal Solution for Tourists and Travelers

Satisfied fro Telemedicine appointment

Telemedicine, also known as Telehealth or a televisit, involves having a medical consultation via technology such as smartphones, computers, or tablets, allowing you to see and hear the healthcare provider from any location. The utilization of telemedical technologies for urgent care has significantly increased since the COVID-19 epidemic, proving to be an effective alternative to in-person consultations. Medical research has shown that telemedicine can offer benefits comparable to, and sometimes surpassing, those of in-person visits in terms of outcomes. This is largely due to the absence of distractions during the visit, allowing the caregiver to focus entirely on the conversation..

Pyllola Telemedicine in Italy: Simplifying Telemedicine

Pyllola is an online platform that connects patients with English-speaking healthcare professionals throughout Italy. Its mission is to streamline the search for medical practitioners for those visiting or residing in Italy. Telemedical services offers immediate video visits with a doctor for common conditions. Your appointment will be scheduled 15 to 30 minutes after your request, allowing you to consult a doctor from the comfort of your hotel room or Airbnb, without wasting time and money traveling to a doctor's office. You can also obtain prescription medications online, which are available at any pharmacy. We recommend reviewing this post that explains how to better prepare for a telehealth visit.

Benefits of Telemedicine:

1. Availability and Convenience: Travel is unnecessary; receive medical advice from any location. In fact, numerous tourists conduct video calls outside their accommodations without disrupting their plans to visit tourist attractions.

2. No language barriers: consult English-speaking doctors who have access to a global medication database. This ensures the physician understands your regular medications and knows their Italian equivalents should you require refills.

3. Speed and Safety: Speed and safety are ensured with swift appointments that eliminate the need for waiting rooms, reducing the risk of exposure to illnesses from others.

4. Prescriptions: Obtain e-prescriptions when needed. These services are ideal if you've forgotten or left your regular medications at home, or if unexpected changes in plans have caused you to run out.

5. Experienced doctors: Experienced doctors possess extensive expertise in conducting video consultations with patients.

6. Follow-up: Should you have further questions following the video call, feel free to inquire via email. Information pertaining to the call is retained, ensuring that you receive the most accurate answers and advice at a later time.

Cons of Telemedicine

1. Limited Scope: Telemedicine is suitable for non-emergency cases yet it may not substitute in-person consultations for more complex conditions.

2. Physical Examination: Certain conditions necessitate a physical examination, which telemedicine cannot completely fulfill.

3. Internet Connection: Reliable internet access is crucial for video consultations. (Refer to our guide and tips for a successful telemedicine visit)


When in Italy and in need of medical assistance (excluding medical emergencies), it's important to weigh your options. Regarding the choice between finding a 'Doctor near me' or using Telemedicine services in Italy, the clear recommendation is to opt for Telemedicine. It provides convenience and language support for all common medical issues. Nevertheless, for urgent issues or emergencies, it's crucial to seek immediate medical help at the closest hospital. Whether your journey takes you through the winding alleys of Venice or along the rugged trails of the Amalfi Coast, being informed about healthcare access is key to a secure and pleasant vacation.

To order your telemedicine visit please go here

For medications refills use this link

See a Doctor in Rome

See a Doctor in Florence and Tuscany

See a Doctor in Venice and surrounding area

See a Doctor in Puglia

See a Doctor in Sorrento, Amalfi, Positano and surrounding area

See a Doctor in Milan, Como, Lake Maggiore and surrounding area

See a Doctor in Verona, Lake Garda and surrounding area

See a Doctor in Naples and surrounding area

Buon viaggio! 🌟


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