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Can the use of digital algorithms improve quality care? An example from Afghanistan.


ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Quality of care is a difficult parameter to measure. With the introduction of digital algorithms based on the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI), we are interested to understand if the adherence to the guidelines improved for a better quality of care for children under 5 years old. METHODS:More than one year after the introduction of digital algorithms, we carried out two cross sectional studies to assess the improvements in comparison with the situation prior to the implementation of the project, in two Basic Health Centres in Kabul province. One survey was carried out inside the consultation room and was based on the direct observation of 181 consultations of children aged 2 months to 5 years old, using a checklist completed by a senior physicians. The second survey queried 181 caretakers of children outside the health facility for their opinion about the consultation carried out through the tablet and prescriptions and medications given. RESULTS:We measured the quality of care as adherence to the IMCI's guidelines. The study evaluated the quality of the physical examination and the therapies prescribed with a special attention to antibiotic prescription. We noticed a dramatic improvement (p<0.05) of several indicators following the introduction of digital algorithms. The baseline physical examination was appropriate only for 23.8% [IC% 19.9-28.1] of the patients, 34.5% [IC% 30.0-39.2] received a correct treatment and 86.1% [IC% 82.4-89.2] received at least one antibiotic. With the introduction of digital algorithms, these indicators statistically improved respectively to 84.0% [IC% 77.9-88.6], >85% and less than 30%. CONCLUSIONS:Our findings suggest that digital algorithms improve quality of care by applying the guidelines more effectively. Our experience should encourage to test this tool in different settings and to scale up its use at province/state level.

SUBMITTER: Bernasconi A 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6261034 | BioStudies | 2018-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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