BIREME Bulletin n° 2

Brazil Telehealth Program for Primary Health Care

Since 2007, in the early days of the Brazil Telehealth Program, BIREME/PAHO/WHO has been cooperating with the Ministry of Health to promote and facilitate the use of bvs-apsscientific knowledge in Primary Health Care (PHC), through Telehealth services. The teleconsulting provided by the Telehealth Nucleus of Rio Grande do Sul gave rise to the possibility of developing a new source of information of the “Questions and Answers” type, which would be applied to Primary Health Care within the context of the Unified Healthcare System (Sistema Único de Saúde, SUS) and called Second Formative Opinion (Segunda Opinião Formativa, SOF).

The SOFs originated from actual questions posed by healthcare teams and are answered at the teleconsulting service by the Telehealth Nuclei. The SOF addresses relevant themes for Primary Health Care, with the potential of answering questions and meeting the needs of other healthcare professionals, aiming to enhance the resolution capacity in similar cases or situations. They can be considered an example of knowledge translation, since it is a systematized answer based on the best available evidence and on the organizing role of primary care to support health professionals on daily clinical issues.

Currently, the SOF collection has more than one thousand questions and answers that are available at the Primary Health Care Virtual Health Library (PHC VHL), which relies on the contribution of several teleconsultants of Telehealth Nuclei in Brazil.

In 2016, according to Ana Estela Haddad, president of the Municipal Telehealth Committee, BIREME also played a key role in the creation of the Telehealth Program portal of the city of SĂŁo Paulo, by developing and providing a training course for teleconsultants and bringing their experience on SOF. Soon BIREME will support the transformation of the distance teleconsultant education course into a self-teaching activity, published in the Virtual Campus of Public Health (VCPH) Brazil, and assist in the production of new SOFs based on the teleconsulting provided by the Telehealth Nucleus of the City of SĂŁo Paulo.

The challenges of Brazil Telehealth Network and BIREME’s are to continue providing visibility and sharing knowledge produced by teleconsulting in SOFs, in addition to transferring this experience to other countries in the Latin America and Caribbean Region, since the questions and answers apply to the context of PHC at Brazil’s SUS. Besides translating from Portuguese into Spanish, it would be necessary to adapt to each country’s context, so that the management methodology of this source of information may be shared and applied to other forums of the VHL Network.

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