Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the rate of adoption for video consultations and mHealth tools within healthcare systems drastically increased. Brazil was no exception. The Sistema Único de Saúde (SUS) was established in 1988 with the purpose of providing universal healthcare to the Brazilian population. The high demand for specialized care, coupled with most specialist doctors being located in larger, urban areas, meant that providing secondary care during a pandemic became even more complicated. The administration of the SUS therefore was forced to consider other options, and began implementing the use of video concultations, when necessary, and other mHealth tools. However, it is uncertain whether this implementation will continue past the context of a global pandemic, instead of as a contingency. Therefore, this research paper aims to answer the following question: How can the increased use of video consultations and mHealth tools relieve the burden of medical specialists in Brazil? In order to answer the research question the current literature relating to video consultations, mHealth tools, and the Brazilian healthcare system were analysed. This was used to build an interview guide in order to conduct semi-structured interviews with Brazilian healthcare professionals so as to gather the necessary information to answer the research question. The interviews were then transcribed and a thematic analysis of the data was performed in order to extract relevant themes and topics. The main findings indicated that video consultations were used significantly during the pandemic, and that future use is dependent on legislation and funding for infastructure and education. Nonetheless, interviewees were enthusiastic about this opportunity. In terms of mHealth, this enthusiasm was also present, but current technology used within the SUS has to first catch up enough to allow for the digitalisation of patient information and data in a way that remains ethical. However, the use of mHealth tools could improve the quality of the SUS and allow for a more efficient system which would ultimately ease the burden of the medical specialists that employ them.

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Dr. Payal Arora
Media & Business
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Helena Aires de Campos. (2022, November 4). The future of Brazilian healthcare: Investigating the use of mHealth and video consultations in the Brazilian public health system. Media & Business. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2105/66249