New health booking system tackles corruption and cuts waiting times

By on 19/04/2016
President Dilma Rousseff visits the University Hospital of the Lutheran University of Brazil (Ulbra).

A new appointment booking system introduced in the city of Canoas, in Brazil’s Rio Grande do Sul region, has boosted the number of daily consultations from 900 to 2,000.

The initiative, which won the city the 2013 Public Administrator Award for IT and the Rio Grande do Sul 2014 Innovation Award, has prompted three other municipalities to follow suit.

Previously, mayor Jairo Jorge said, people had to queue to book consultations, which were typically scheduled for three months in advance.

But the system was opaque, and politicians granted appointments to their supporters in a form of patronage.

“Health was an exchange currency in politics; an election commodity,” Jorge said.

“The transparency of a universal system put an end to this kind of sponsorship.

“The system has to be good for everyone, not for just a few.”

In 2012, the city introduced a telephone booking system, spending 4m Brazilian Real (US$1.1) on technology and increasing medical teams by 30%.

Service users register with the service and provide their telephone numbers, then call a freephone number and await an automated call-back which records the patient’s request.

“We return the call within a maximum of 15 minutes, and consultations are [scheduled] within three or four weeks,” the mayor said.

The new system was built around the scheduling services of Aparecida de Goiânia (GO) municipality, the biometric identity-verification systems of Curitiba (PR) and Cuiabá´s (MT) management software.

There are now more than 250,000 registered users, and the system has managed nearly 1.7m appointments.

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See also:

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About Cristina Livramento

Cristina Livramento is a journalist, writer and photographer based in Brazil. She has previously reported for Campo Grande News based in the Center-West region of the country where she covered national and regional news about the economy, technology and agriculture.

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