San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Caja

Public hospitals begin offering online appointments this week

The Costa Rican Social Security System, or Caja, on Tuesday launched a new digital service that allows patients to make appointments at 40 percent of the Caja’s public hospitals and community clinics, or EBAIS.

The new system is part of the “Unified Digital Health Records” (EDUS) strategy, a Caja program aimed at expediting administrative procedures at public health facilities.

Gabriela Murillo Jenkins, the Caja’s infrastructure manager, said the new service allows users to schedule, verify and cancel appointments for general medical services from home or at work, at any time of the day. Users also can check the availability of times and schedules of each day.

Hundreds of patients currently must stand in line for hours outside public hospitals and EBAIS clinics while waiting for an appointment. Some even spend the night on sidewalks and return home without an appointment.

In order to access the system, Caja insurance holders must register as users with their insurance numbers and other basic information at: http://edus.ccss.sa.cr/eduscitasweb

The system does not allow minors to register, and parents must register each of their children separately.

Users cannot request more than one appointment, except in cases when parents need to schedule appointments for themselves and their children.

Murillo said that while initially the system only will be available for appointments at a limited number of Caja clinics, officials expect to eventually extend access to two million Caja members across the country.

The efforts by Caja officials to erradicate long lines at public health facilities includes an automated phone service that began operating last October. Patients can call a toll-free number at: 905-MISALUD (905-6472583). English-language assistance is available.

Contact L. Arias at larias@ticotimes.net

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