FCA Saúde

​FCA Health’s Call Center Scales Assistance and Access Which Can be a Legacy for the Pandemic Period


During the Covid-19 pandemic, online tools, remote consultations and new protocols transform FCA’s health network services in Brazil

September 9, 2020 - In March 2020, the announcement of the pandemic caused by the new coronavirus transformed health care routines and protocols around the world. Clinical and hospital structures needed to be adapted. " Several actions had to be taken, from the beginning of the pandemic, to bring safety to patients and health professionals", says Doctor Nielsen Ribeiro, manager of FCA Saúde (FCA Health), a network that serves employees and their families within the FCA and CNH Industrial groups.

FCA’s health care units in Belo Horizonte, Betim and Contagem, known as Núcleos FCA Saúde, adopted protocols established by the National Health Surveillance Agency of Brazil (Anvisa) and the Ministry of Health for the prevention of Covid-19. These adjustments brought security to the more than 23,000 face-to-face consultations that have taken place so far since the beginning of the pandemic. Protective measures were determined for employees and family members throughout the premises and, to avoid agglomerations, FCA Saúde began to provide video consultations, better known as Online Consultation. "These changes have brought a great deal of robustness to our services," explains Ribeiro. Currently, FCA Saúde's online care, which already accumulates more than 10,000 consultations, is centered on the services of Family Medicine, Gynecology, Pediatrics and Psychology.


Teleservice

FCA Health AppThe FCA Health app makes the setting up of appointments easier.

Daniel Magalhães is an administrative assistant at FCA's Prisma Center, a partnership between the INSS and the FCA so that employees can request information and social security benefits. Since March, Daniel has been working from home, where he lives with his mother and sister. After his sister tested positive for Covid-19, he sought medical help. "I called my coordinator and she explained about the online consultations. I then set up my appointment through the FCA Health app", he says.

Daniel then underwent a medical video consultation and was tested for Covid, which fortunately had a negative result. "At no time did I have to leave the house, not even to get the test, once the lab took care of it by coming directly to my home. Even with all this distancing, it was important to know that we haven’t lost our bedside manners" he says.

FCA’s Health network physician Laís Fini Sanches.Laís Fini Sanches, physician for the FCA Health network, says that the teleservices have allowed for medical follow-ups to take place.

Another goal with these online consultations is to enable (or not interrupt) treatments without patients having to leave their house. Laís Fini Sanches, a physician at FCA Saúde, explains that most people with comorbidities have not continued with their medical follow-ups since the beginning of the pandemic. "This is due to social distancing and the risk of leaving home and exposing themselves to coronavirus. Some patients even neglected some signs and symptoms, which eventually brought complications to the underlying diseases", she explains.

Rodrigo Marques da Silva Alves, team leader in the Quality department at the Fiat Automotive Center, in Betim (MG), decided to look for a nutritionist during the pandemic. For this, he scheduled a first consultation with his FCA health network family physician. The scheduling was done through the app and the consultation took place via videoconference. "Normally, I would have to do this consultation in person and then get a referral for a nutritionist. But I didn't have to leave the house, so I saved time and the risk of contamination. And my needs were fully met. I need to continue the treatment and this system has allowed me to do so", he says. For Laís, medical practices at a distance allow to scale the care and maintain continuity: "we do follow-ups and even provide health education and guidance with greater ease of exchanging information between the physician and the patient."

According to FCA Health manager, Nielsen Ribeiro, teleconsultations can often meet the needs of patients rather than a face-to-face consultation and this allows doctors to guide and evaluate those who really need to be referred for an in-person follow-up. "For first-time parents, for example, who often have a lot of questions and insecurities, often a simple orientation is sufficient", he exemplifies.


Psychological Care

FCA Health psychologist Mirian Viviane da Silva.Mirian Viviane da Silva, a psychologist at FCA Saúde, feels positive about the teleservice structure adopted during the pandemic.

In April, before the adoption of teleservices by the clinical staff, consultations with psychologists for psychotherapy were the first areas to acquire the online model at FCA Saúde. The service was made possible even for those in the FCA group who do not yet have the FCA Saúde’s direct coverage. "We chose to start with psychology because of the situation we are living in, a time of uncertainty, away from family members. We were able to identify that, for those who were already predisposed to some anxiety, the pandemic was a trigger. And we were able to be closer to those people," Ribeiro explains.

Mirian Viviane da Silva (pictured), a psychologist at FCA Saúde, says that there was a significant increase in the demand for psychotherapy tele-service, something she associates not only with the benefit of not having to take risks in commuting during the pandemic, but also to the convenience of being able to perform the consultation without leaving home. "At this time, mood swings are common, fears and other feelings are more prominent, for both men and women of different ages, including children, who have struggled to adapt to the change in their routine," she says.

For Mirian, the challenge today is to overcome the perception that online care can be impersonal and cold. "Even if you are not in the same environment, it’s possible to have a warm and positive service, with the advantage of having the same confidentiality and security of a face-to-face consultation, regardless of distance", she says. FCA Saúde's teleservice resources has also allowed to resume follow-ups that were made before the pandemic. "This is proof that teleservices reduce some of the barriers that a face-to-face consultation can have, such as geographic location, and thus it facilitates the continuity of psychological care", she says.


New Tools and Processes

Nielsen Ribeiro, physician and manager of FCA SaúdeNielsen Ribeiro, manager of FCA Saúde, believes that teleservice could be a legacy of the pandemic.

With the need for social distancing, FCA Saúde implemented or improved actions and processes, mainly in relation to remote care. This is the case of the "Hi Guys" tool, which is in contact with the public and the FCA Health team through chat. The platform has been operating since February 2020, but its access has expanded. From around 1,000 hits per month, the chat, which aims at health guidelines for beneficiaries, reached more than 40,000 hits. "We also expanded the active search to activate a patient and understand his/her situation", says Nielsen Ribeiro, a physician and manager of FCA Saúde. The FCA Health team has made more than 7,000 calls to beneficiaries of risk groups for support and follow up.

"I understand that teleconsultation will be reevaluated in the coming months, but it’s possible that it’s here to stay, in what we call a new normal. Face-to-face consultation is sovereign, but we cannot question the efficiency of this orientation. I believe that it will be the great legacies of this moment of pandemic", says Ribeiro.


Texto: Luiza Lages

Fotos: Marketing / Personal Archives

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