Client: Universidad Federal de Sergipe Industry: Health Solution: Establish a pioneer project under Cisco's overall social responsibility program, called "Connected Healthy Children".
SONDA IT is the largest Latin American integrator of Information Technology solutions. It has been recognized for its experience and specialization in developing projects using Cisco Technology, especially in the health sector. Consequently, it has been selected to participate in a Cisco pilot project, together with the Universidad Federal de Sergipe (UFS), called “Advanced Program for Collaboration and Education in Health”.
The project forms part of a Cisco social responsibility program called “Connected Healthy Children”. It was launched in February last year with the aim of shortening distances to pediatric outpatient clinics for patients living in rural areas near the cities of Lagarto and Tobias Barreto. Children now have access to tele-medicine or medical care using Cisco tele-presence, which is videoconferencing in high definition. It has been implemented in Family Health Clinics, particularly for medical care in immunology and gastro-enterology.
Children are diagnosed by specialized medical teams in Aracaju, the State capital, and São Cristovão where the UFS campus is located, without leaving their home town. This reduces the impact on the municipality’s finances, as these are people from vulnerable families with few resources. The prefecture used to pay for both their transportation and accommodation. At the same time, this trip to the capital represented the loss of a day’s work for families, and children had to miss a day of school.
The tele-medicine project in Sergipe can currently handle close to 80 virtual consultations per month, and can also facilitate the discussion of complex cases with teams of remote specialist doctors, without them leaving their homes or hospitals/clinics.
The project not only provides medical care for patients, but also provides a continuing education program for health professionals. Specialists from the capital of Sergipe offer presentations to health professionals in Lagarto and Tobias Barreto using Cisco collaboration and tele-presence technologies. Therefore, equipment installed at clinics can promote interaction between professionals and the community, in addition to facilitating training using this network, which improves the quality of care provided by local doctors.
Doctor Mario Adriano dos Santos is the University Campus Director and the Tele-medicine Project Coordinator, and he reports that the program was well received by patients and by the professionals involved. The first eleven months of this project have resulted in the creation of a Tele-medicine Development Nucleus to generate knowledge that can be replicated across the rest of the country. He said “We want to increase the number of specialists, to expand the care to adults, and even increase the program to cover other municipalities”.
The next phase is being developed by UFS, SONDA and Cisco and involves implementing a portal that expands the platform and facilitates synchronous and asynchronous communication between Family Health Clinics and University Hospitals in that State. It will also allow this platform to be integrated into other initiatives from the Ministry of Health and the Federal Government. The objective of the Federal Government is to improve the quality of Primary Health Care in the Unified Health System (SUS), and integrate education with service using information technology tools that promote tele-medicine and tele-education.
He explains “The Federal Government has an enormous interest in tele-medicine, and we currently dominate this pioneering technological contribution in Brazil. Therefore, we want to expand the model to other municipalities in Sergipe and eventually reach the entire State through Family Health Clinics”.
The Government aims to expand the abilities of Family Health teams, reduce the costs and risks of transferring patients, encourage health care professionals to stay at remote municipalities and ensure that they are included in a Digital Inclusion Program. Doctor Mario Adriano dos Santos believes that the UFS-Cisco tele-medicine project fully complies with these goals and can be extended to provide broader health care. He added “We want to minimize the problems facing communities by reducing disease, at an acceptable cost to the system, whilst meeting the requirements of local doctors”.
SONDA IT is a partner in this project, which involves innovation and improving the quality of life for patients. It has tested the ability of the integrator to transform technology into social welfare. Rene Caracci is the Director General for the Platforms Division at SONDA IT, and he said “Our goal at SONDA is to ensure that our technological solutions have a direct impact on our customers. In this case, the direct benefits of the solution that we implemented with Cisco are improvements to the quality of life of children from vulnerable families, and an increase in the efficiency of the public health system”.
The Universidad Federal de Sergipe was created in 1968 and now has five campuses for classroom teaching and 14 Distance Education Centers. The institution has openings for over 5,500 students on 112 courses. It has 2,100 post-graduate students enrolled on 57 courses, with 12 doctorate courses, 40 academic masters’ courses and five professional masters’ courses. It has 718 ongoing research projects, 239 research groups registered with CNPq and 567 teachers involved in science. In the community, the UFS has 311 registered projects reaching 790,000 beneficiaries, 696 teachers are involved and there are 1,500 students and 57 technicians focused on community projects. The UFS has a team of 1,400 teachers, 1,000 of them with a PhD, and 1,400 technical-administrative staff.
Shorten the distance for pediatric medical care in rural areas near the cities of Lagarto and Tobias Barreto, in the State of Sergipe.
The tele-medicine program can currently handle close to 80 virtual consultations per month.