Implementation of public health policy and its challenges in the digital age

Abstract This article analyzes the implementation of public policy on regulation of beds in intensive care units, considering the formulated policy, the institutional conditions and the strategies used by the state and municipalities of Bahia, Brazil. A literature review is carried out, based on the rational choice institutionalism, as well as a qualitative study with three groups of street-level bureaucrats. Results show a gap between the policies formulated and implemented and the influence of bureaucrats in the implementation of public policies in health. In addition, the research observed the use of information and communication technology such as social media (WhatsApp) as regulation strategies. The informal control and assignment of beds using WhatsApp is a clientelistic strategy, indicating that, even under the aegis of the managerial state, clientelistic and patrimonial practices persist.