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Direção-Geral da Saúde (The Portuguese Directorate General of Health)

COVID-19: empowering self-management at national level

In partnership with UpHill, Direção-Geral da Saúde (The Portuguese Directorate General of Health) launched a digital and interactive platform to empower COVID-19 self-management at a national level, providing the necessary information for each citizen to understand their particular situation and how to act in conformity.

+1 Million

visits in six months

~10%

of all Portuguese population reached

Health authorities communication aims to promote safe and healthy behaviors, based on the best scientific evidence. However, this is a particularly challenging process during a pandemic due to two major reasons: the information itself is complex and the scientific knowledge is continuously being produced and disseminated.

In the current context, the importance of communication is undeniable. We all need fast, accessible, clear and transparent information to support the decision-making process, mostly in uncertainty situations. The COVID-19 pandemic showed that speed should not endanger scientific and ethical principles in health decisions.

Graça Freitas

Director-General of Health

In December 2021, the appearance of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant, with the highest transmissibility recorded until that date, drive to a high incidence of new cases with an impact on the health system responsiveness, namely concerning remote screening by SNS24 (the online-service of the Portuguese National Health Service), remote clinical surveillance by healthcare services and contact tracing by public health units.
Given the high vaccination rate achieved in Portugal, the impact of this variant was particularly felt in the community, given the significant number of asymptomatic infections and mild illness. The COVID-19 pandemic response model transitioned to a more citizen-centered model backed on self-management and self-care promotion. This transition required new strategies to place citizens as the first addressees of the national guidelines being developed by the Portuguese Directorate General of Health.

Project Goals

  1. Facilitate the access to scientifically accurate, up-to-date, and easily understandable information to all citizens;
  2. Enlighten and reassure each person that tested positive, have symptoms, or had contact with someone who had a positive test, providing clear information about the behaviors to be adopted in each particular case;
  3. Contribute to a more structured contact between citizens and the health system;
  4. Promote safe and healthy behaviors.

We believe that technology has a fundamental role in clarifying and empowering citizens, providing them with fundamental skills and knowledge to access, understand, evaluate, and use health information. The pandemic context, with health systems under pressure, was the opportunity to make it happen.

David Rodrigues

David Rodrigues

VP of Medical Content, UpHill

Solution

In order to personalize self-management and self-care for each person and each particular situation, as well as ensure quick access to reliable information, in line with the best practice recommendations, UpHill Route was selected as an interactive platform to help people identifying the warning signs of COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 Condition and know how to act afterwards.

All the information was dispersed through lengthy and scientifically well founded documents. We brought together UpHill’s technology and the Directorate General of Health’s knowledge to build a solution targeted to citizens' health literacy.

Team Member

Eduardo Freire Rodrigues

CEO, UpHill

The platform also included a section with the most frequently asked questions and all information is permanently updated according to the guidelines of the Directorate-General of Health.

Examples:

  1. I was in contact with someone who tested positive. How many days should I be isolated?
  2. I have COVID-19. Do I need a healing test to be discharged?
  3. How can I get the recovery certificate?
  4. Which symptoms are usually associated with Post-COVID-19 Condition
  5. How should I resume physical activity?

We have increased the health system responsiveness and efficiency, reducing redundant demand and making the adequate answers available for those in need. We empowered healthcare professionals and citizens with safety and quality. We’ve made History in digital innovation.

Graça Freitas

Director-General of Health

Solution Highlights:

  • Intuitive interface;
  • Personalized recommendations supported by up to date evidence;
  • Simplified language to make medical recommendations easily understood by non-experts;
  • Free of charge and open source.

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