At a Glance

  • Largest healthcare system in Brazil
  • Global, real-time collaboration
  • Distance learning

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Collaboration for Brazil’s Largest Healthcare System

Brazil considers healthcare to be a right for all its citizens. With a population of more than 200 million, it is up to organizations like Unimed to maintain the health of the fifth largest country in the world. Founded in 1967, Unimed is present in 84% of Brazil and is the largest cooperative healthcare system in the country with 20 million customers and 110,000 physicians.

As one of the most recognizable brands in Brazil, Unimed looks to real-time, high definition video collaboration to maintain its medical leadership. The organization developed Project Sign to connect people in Brazil and those in other parts of the world.

People can now participate in meetings, courses, seminars and national conventions from anywhere. Dr. Antonio Cesar Azevedo Neves, director of information technology at Unimed, credits the success of Unimed cross border lectures to collaborative solutions. "During an MBA event held for multiple federations and around 20 independent cooperatives, Project Sign managed to bring professors from [University of Cambridge in] the United States to Brazil."

There is a real-time exchange of knowledge and information on a daily basis and Unimed sees video as a routine part of its workflow. The ease of communications makes it easy to have a consistent flow of information throughout the entire organization, notes Dr. Edevard Jose de Araujo, director of marketing and development at Unimed. "Lectures, conferences and events can be distributed to employees by local leaders, thus improving quality, increasing knowledge and standardizing the whole system."

Unimed is able to enhance processes and management resources after conducting an "organization diagnosis." By optimizing the use of video within different functions, the organization eliminated the need for individual professionals in every independent and federated cooperative.

Sustainability is also an important objective for Project Sign. Dr. Araujo shares the example of an annual event that brings 400 people to São Paulo, Brazil. Using video, Unimed saves almost a million Brazilian reais (approximately $350,000 USD) and lowers gas emissions.

From a financial perspective, the return on investment for Project Sign is significant. In the first year of implementation alone, the amount saved is equal to the organization's four-year investment on video collaboration. Altogether, the project has already provided a savings of R$ 18 million (approximately $6.3 million USD) for Unimed, and the number is growing.

Ultimately, the organization looks to current and future technology to set itself apart from the rest. Instead of restricting collaborative solutions to specific industries, Dr. Neves takes it one step further. "In today's globalized world, knowledge, real-time information and online forms need to be at the front of company and business actions," he shares. "Video conferencing can be used in any business today."