116117 is the European number for accessing non-urgent medical services and healthcare continuity, characterized by low intensity and low priority.
The harmonized number 116 117 replaces all the classic toll-free numbers: out-of-hours medical services, continued assistance, specialized centers, information and support toll-free numbers. The purpose behind the new number is to organize and centralize all assistance contact points into one place, making accessing information or assistance easier for citizens. There is now only one number to remember, the same for all, without regional distinctions. 116 117 has the following characteristics:
- Available to all people in the European territory without prior registration.
- Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Aids and / or informs.
- Not time limited.
- Toll Free
- Calls can be made from any telephone.
- Personal data are processed in compliance with privacy, in accordance with the provisions of the GDPR / 2016 and subsequent amendments.
116 117: The Italian model
Italy has been at the forefront of the 116 117 implementations. Lombardy has spearheaded the transition from the old system, made up of a constellation of out of hours and non-emergency toll free numbers to the new single number. Lombardy designed, planned, and tested the first 116 117 PSAP in the country. In its trial phase, the PSAP only served a small area, but it has now been extended to cover the entire region and its 10 million people. It is the blueprint for all other regions which will start to implement the service in the coming years.
Lombardy chose to set up an Integrated Operation Call Center (COI) where non- medical call takers answer the calls and give a first standard assessment of the caller needs. They then forward the call to the correct Continuity Care doctor (formerly the Medical / Tourist Guard), which, independently, manages the clinical case, deciding on health advice or home visit. The 116 117 PSAPs are connected to the 112 European emergency number PSAP network to allow quick call transfer if necessary.
These operating 24 hours 7 days a week PSAP also provide information and instructions for citizens who are unsure of who to reach out to in case of non-urgent care, special requests, or questions. The 116117 Center is in the Niguarda Hospital in Milano and has 38 workstations with state-of-the-art Call Taking platforms. At the busiest times, the call stations are manned by 25 call takers.
The Lombardy Region is only the first of a long series who will activate the service in the coming years. Trentino Alto Adige, Valle D’Aosta, Marche all plan to activate the service soon.
116 117: The role of Beta 80
To all PSAPs and EOC that deal with non-urgent but non-deferrable situations, Beta 80 offers the Help 1st suite, developed to provide clear resource management, as per European directives. Our systems helps agencies transition to a single access point to respond to the health needs of citizens, with a special focus on the continuity of care and citizen advocacy.
The mission is to guarantee a quality service that understands and is rooted in the needs of the territory it serves, supporting the integration between all healthcare structures: general medicine, emergency / urgency, and hospital services.