Change sometimes comes slowly in Costa Rica, but eventually, it does come. Such is the case with Costa Rica’s Caja. Back in July 2014, the Tico Times published an article about changes to the public healthcare system which would allow patients to schedule their appointments online. Here is an excerpt of the article:
“Good news for users of Costa Rica’s public health care system: Starting in August, the Social Security System, or Caja, will have a new link on their website (www.ccss.sa.cr) for patients to schedule appointments online. In a first stage of the project, the digital service will allow patients to make appointments at 40 of the Caja’s 103 hospitals and community clinics, or EBAIS, throughout the country. The remaining hospitals and clinics will be brought online shortly after, according to José Manuel Zamora, a coordinator of the Caja’s Digital Medical Records project. Read the entire article here: http://www.ticotimes.net/2014/07/30/public-hospitals-to-offer-online-appointment-scheduling-in-august.”
At the time, Paul and I were living in the country, outside of San Ramón. Our EBAIS (local clinic) didn’t even have a telephone, let alone a computer. So online appointments, we knew, wouldn’t apply to us, at least for a long time.
In January of 2017, we moved to downtown San Ramón. When we moved, our local clinic changed to one downtown, located right across the street from the hospital. Still, we couldn’t make appointments online. But in August, when I went in to try to see the doctor, I noticed that things had changed. Normally, we would just show up at the EBAIS, see the receptionist, and then wait until the doctor could see us. Sometimes the wait was an hour, sometimes several hours. But this time, I noticed a sign on the wall with information about making appointments online. Here’s the English translation: “Get your web appointment. Request, cancel, and reschedule your EBAIS appointment with only one click at the following location: https://edus.ccss.sa.cr/eduscitasweb/. Now we modernize to provide you with a better service.”
So recently, when I needed to see the doctor again, I tried the online system. There are, however, a couple of steps to the process.
Registering With the Web Appointments System
First off, you must register with the online system. For this you will need two things: your carnet (Caja intentification card) and an email address on file with CCSS. When you go to the appointment system website, this is the first screen you will see:
If this is your first time, you would click the blue “Registrese” button (you could also click the “Registrarse” button in the upper right corner of the screen) in order to register. This will bring you to the registration screen:
The first box gives you two drop-down choices. Be sure to select “Extranjero” (foreigner). In the second box, enter your carnet number. It will be a 10-digit number, most likely preceded by a “7/” which designates you as a foreigner. So, you would enter the 10 digits which follow the “/.” Then, click the “Continuar” button to process your registration.
If all is well, you will receive an email which says, “Bienvenido al sistema Servicio Citas Web y APP EDUS (SCWB). Ingrese al siguiente enlace para establecer una contraseña de acceso al sistema: (link). Muchas gracias.” Translation: “Welcome to Appointment Web service system and APP EDUS (SCWB). Enter the following link to set a password to access the system: (link). Thank you very much.” Just clink on the link provided and set your password.
You will then get another email with the following confirmation: “Por este medio se le informa que se le han otorgado permisos para ingresar a la aplicación Servicio Citas Web y APP EDUS(SCWB), que está disponible en la plataforma de la Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social de Costa Rica. Para iniciar sesión en la aplicación debe utilizar los credenciales correspondientes al momento del registro:
Tipo usuario: Extranjero
Nombre usuario: XXXXXXXXXX
Contraseña: No mostrada por seguridad
Se le recuerda que su usuario y contraseña son de uso personal. No debe compartirlos con otras personas.
Módulo Integrado de Seguridad (MISE)”
Translation: “Hereby inform you that it has been granted permission to enter the Appointment Service and APP EDUS Web application (SCWB), which is available on the platform of the Costa Rican Social Security of Costa Rica. To log into the application must use the credentials for the time of registration:
User Type: Foreign
Username: (Your 10-digit carnet#)
Password: Not shown for security reasons
Please keep in mind that your username and password are for personal use. You should not share them with others.
Integrated Security Module (MISE)”
If there was a problem with your registration, you won’t receive the confirmation emails. The problem might be that you don’t have an email address on file. That’s what happened when I tried to register Paul into the system. The solution was to go to our local EBAIS, explain the problem, and give them Paul’s email address. Once they entered it in the system, I was able to go home and complete Paul’s registration.
Scheduling Appointment with the Web Appointments System
When you want to make an appointment online, you will go to the appointment website and click “Accesar” in the upper right corner.
This takes you to the login screen, where you will select “Extranjero” and enter your carnet number and password:
Then click “Iniciar Sesión” (Begin Session). This will bring you to a screen where you can enter the date you would like the appointment (usually the next day or later). Once you have selected the date, a list of available appointment times will appear below. Just check the time you would like and schedule it. As a confirmation, you will receive an email to confirm your appointment, including the date, time, EBAIS, and doctor.
One thing to remember about scheduling appointments is that you don’t have a choice of doctors or clinics. When you sign up for the Caja, you are assigned to an EBAIS (local clinic) based on where you live. Each EBAIS has a doctor assigned, however the actual doctor you see may vary. If the doctor assigned is on vacation or not there for other reasons, there will be a substitute doctor.
Going to Your Appointment
On the date of your appointment, plan to arrive about 15 minutes prior to the scheduled time. Go to the receptionist at your EBAIS and tell her you have an appointment. She will most likely have you on a list and will also have your expediente (patient file). If your file isn’t on her desk, she will send you to Archivo (Archives) to request it.
Next stop is to see the nurse. You will wait outside the nurse’s office until he/she calls your name. When it’s your turn, they will ask why you are there and take your blood pressure and weight. Then, it’s off to wait outside the doctor’s office until your name is called.
On my recent visit, I had made the appointment the day before. From the time I showed up for my appointment to the time I was finished with the doctor, it took less than one hour. The online appointment system allows for a much greater level of efficiency than before. We will definitely keep using it in the future!
- Costa Rica’s Caja: How it Works
- The EBAIS – Where Healthcare Starts
- New Development: Make Caja Appointments by Phone
- Our Ultimate Healthcare Tour of Costa Rica