The challenging effort of the Ministry of Health to develop the e-SUS - project for digitilization and modernization of services of the Unified Health System - comprised several fronts. These include developing an online solution for scheduling appointments in primary care. Thus, SUS users could schedule appointments more conveniently, avoiding long lines and waiting time at health posts. The online solution, in the form of a digital application, would be provided free of charge to all Brazilian municipalities.
Faced with the challenge, at the end of 2016, GNova was sought to collect users' perceptions, needs and expectations regarding the scheduling of medical appointments.
A team was formed with members of the laboratory itself, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Planning, to go in the field and understand how appointment scheduling apps were already working in practice in municipalities that had developed solutions on their own. The municipalities involved were Inhumas-GO, Goiânia-GO, Rio de Janeiro-RJ and Mogi das Cruzes-SP.
The ethnographic design approach was applied with six audiences to understand the issue from different points of view: municipal managers of basic health, managers of health posts; responsible for scheduling appointments in each unit, doctors and nurses, users of the Unified Health System who used the app for appointment scheduling, and users who did not use the application to schedule their appointments.
The project team was able to identify patterns and insights that helped better understand the context and identify opportunities to innovate. With the research findings, the MS team continued app development, applying insights as technical requirements as well as recommendations to better meet user needs.
Ministry of Health and former Ministry of Planning, Development and Management
November 2016 to February 2017
Health; app; scheduling; basic care: design thinking; ethnographic research.