By Valeria Credidio / LAIS/UFRN Communications Office
Technology is a reality in public health in Brazil, with several tools incorporated into the daily lives of professionals and patients. Some of them were fundamental in saving lives during the most critical phase of the covid-19 pandemic in Rio Grande do Norte, such as Regula RN, a platform for hospital bed regulation, and RN+Vaccine, a portal that ensures transparency to the population’s immunization process.
The two platforms are the result of the joint efforts of the Laboratory for Technological Innovation in Health (LAIS/UFRN), and the State Secretariat of Public Health of Rio Grande do Norte (SESAP/RN) in Brazil, which has extensive experience in building health information systems based on the concepts of interoperability, integration, integrity, and transparency. The importance of these systems is now internationally recognized through the article “Electronic Health Record in Brazil: prospects and technological challenges,” recently published in the Frontiers scientific journal, which specializes in the health field.
The paper provides an overview of what is being developed in Brazil concerning electronic health records. According to researcher Ingrid Barbalho, one of the authors, the main objective of this work was to search the literature for articles that address this theme to show what is being developed, highlighting the main problems and how these approaches are solved. “From this analysis, we can list the main challenges. One of them is the issue of interoperability. There is a need for interoperability in the health information systems in Brazil, so there can be an organized and structured exchange of data, a preponderant factor for improving the digital health issue in the country,” She argued.
In addition to the literature review, the researchers analyzed the current reality and observed the systems and platforms used in Brazilian digital health. According to Giliate Coelho, another author of the article, there has been a very expressive advance in the implementations of digital health in Brazil without, however, the guarantee of communication between these systems. “Brazil is a country of continental dimensions that, in recent decades, has implemented thousands of health information systems in the public and private sectors but has not ensured effective communication between them. This scenario generates a lot of information fragmentation and impairs patient care. The article points out ways to guarantee better interoperability between these systems by defining semantic and technological standards and increasing the security of shared data”.
Throughout its trajectory, LAIS has developed several digital health solutions that, according to the Lab’s executive director, Ricardo Valentim, are examples of health information systems that already incorporate the concepts of interoperability, integration, integrity, and transparency very robustly. “This demonstrates the viability of incorporating technologies that are more appropriate for the digital transformation process in health that Brazil urgently needs to go through, or is already going through.”
Some of the systems already developed and implemented by LAIS
RegulaRN – hospital bed regulation system for Rio Grande do Norte
RN+Vaccine – a virtual vaccine card for citizens and a system to monitor the doses applied, stock movement, and vaccine tracking in real time.
Vaccine and Trust – similar platform to RN Mais Vacina, implemented in Espírito Santo
Acessa e Confia – platform similar to Regula RN, implemented in Espírito Santo
AVASUS – SUS Virtual Learning Environment. It is a space for strengthening continuing education through open educational resources. The platform is free and open access for any interested professional.
Salus – Epidemiological Surveillance Monitoring System, implemented in the municipalities of RN, MS, SP, RJ, BA, and PE.
Smart Telehealth – Monitoring and Evaluation System of the results of the Telehealth Program.
National Platform for Telediagnosis (PNTD) – National Registry of Patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
Translated by the Center for Institutional Relations (NRI/LAIS)