On 2 May 2012, the Regional Administration of Algarve interconnected the primary healthcare centres and the public hospitals of the region through the 'Doctor Support System' (Sistema de Apoio ao Médico - SAM, in Portuguese).
Algarve, the southernmost region of Portugal, is the first to progress this far in the use of SAM. The aim is to provide GPs and hospital specialists with a useful and efficient tool for recording health data in an objective, systematic, codified and standardised manner, and for sharing the health records of patients.
The interconnection of healthcare services is intended to bring the professionals of the healthcare system closer while improving patient care and avoiding the duplication of complementary diagnosis and therapy, as well as of administrative and transports costs.
This new development will make it possible to create a better connection between primary and hospital care, streamlining processes and optimising synergies. This measure is sought to improve the capacity to respond to patient needs, both in terms of assistance and treatment.
It is worth noting that the implementation of an electronic channel between primary and hospital care in Algarve is part of the national project for the creation of the Health Data Platform, which is being developed by the Portuguese Ministry of Health.