Patterns of usage and preferences of users for tuberculosis-related text messages and voice calls in Uganda.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Little information exists about mobile phone usage or preferences for tuberculosis (TB) related health communications in Uganda. METHODS:We surveyed household contacts of TB patients in urban Kampala, Uganda, and clinic patients in rural central Uganda. Questions addressed mobile phone access, usage, and preferences for TB-related communications. We collected qualitative data about messaging preferences. RESULTS:We enrolled 145 contacts and 203 clinic attendees. Most contacts (58%) and clinic attendees (75%) owned a mobile phone, while 42% of contacts and 10% of clinic attendees shared one; 94% of contacts and clinic attendees knew how to receive a short messaging service (SMS) message, but only 59% of contacts aged ?45 years (vs. 96% of contacts aged <45 years, P = 0.0001) did so. All contacts and 99% of clinic attendees were willing and capable of receiving personal-health communications by SMS. Among contacts, 55% preferred detailed messages disclosing test results, while 45% preferred simple messages requesting a clinic visit to disclose results. CONCLUSIONS:Most urban household TB contacts and rural clinic attendees reported having access to a mobile phone and willingness to receive TB-related personal-health communications by voice call or SMS. However, frequent phone sharing and variable messaging abilities and preferences suggest a need to tailor the design and monitoring of mHealth interventions to target recipients.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Compliance to anti-TB treatment is crucial in achieving cure and avoiding the emergence of drug resistance. Electronic health (eHealth) interventions are included in the strategy to end the global Tuberculosis (TB) epidemic by 2035. Evidences showed that mobile messaging systems could improve patient adherence to clinic appointment for diagnosis and treatment. This review aimed to assess the effect of mobile-phone messaging on anti-TB treatment success. METHODS:All randomized controlled trial (RCT) and quasi-experimental studies done prior to August 26, 2019 were included in the review. Studies were retrieved from PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane and ScienceDirect databases including, grey and non-indexed literatures from Google and Google scholar. Quality of studies were independently assessed using Cochrane Risk of Bias Assessment Tool. A qualitative synthesis and quantitative pooled estimation were used to measure the effect of phone messaging on TB treatment success rate. PRISMA flow diagrams were used to summarize article selection process. RESULTS:A total of 1237 articles were identified, with 14 meeting the eligibility criteria for qualitative synthesis. Eight studies with a total of 5680?TB patients (2733 in intervention and 2947 in control groups) were included in meta-analysis. The pooled effect of mobile-phone messaging revealed a small increase in treatment success compared to standard of care (RR 1.04, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.06), with low heterogeneity (I2 =?7%, p <?0.0002). In the review, performance, detection and attrition biases were reported as major risk of biases. CONCLUSIONS:Mobile-phone messaging showed a modest effect in improving anti-TB treatment success; however, the quality of evidence was low. Further controlled studies are needed to increase the evidence-base on the role of mHealth interventions to improve TB care. PROTOCOL REGISTRATION NUMBER:CRD420170744339. http://www.crd.york.ac.uk/PROSPERO/display_record.php?ID=CRD42017074439.
Project description:BACKGROUND:mHealth is a promising means of supporting adherence to treatment. The Start TB patients on ART and Retain on Treatment (START) study included real-time adherence support using short-text messaging service (SMS) text messaging and trained village health workers (VHWs). We describe the use and acceptability of mHealth by patients with HIV/tuberculosis and health care providers. METHODS:Patients and treatment supporters received automated, coded medication and appointment reminders at their preferred time and frequency, using their own phones, and $3.70 in monthly airtime. Facility-based VHWs were trained to log patient information and text message preferences into a mobile application and were given a password-protected mobile phone and airtime to communicate with community-based VHWs. The use of mHealth tools was analyzed from process data over the study course. Acceptability was evaluated during monthly follow-up interviews with all participants and during qualitative interviews with a subset of 30 patients and 30 health care providers at intervention sites. Use and acceptability were contextualized by monthly adherence data. FINDINGS:From April 2013 to August 2015, the automated SMS system successfully delivered 39,528 messages to 835 individuals, including 633 patients and 202 treatment supporters. Uptake of the SMS intervention was high, with 92.1% of 713 eligible patients choosing to receive SMS messages. Patient and provider interviews yielded insight into barriers and facilitators to mHealth utilization. The intervention improved the quality of health communication between patients, treatment supporters, and providers. HIV-related stigma and technical challenges were identified as potential barriers. CONCLUSIONS:The mHealth intervention for HIV/tuberculosis treatment support in Lesotho was found to be a low-tech, user-friendly intervention, which was acceptable to patients and health care providers.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Pre-treatment loss to follow-up is common for patients diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) in high-burden countries. Delivering test results by Short-Messaging-Service (SMS) is increasingly being considered as a solution, but there is limited information about its feasibility as a public health tool in low resourced settings.<h4>Objective</h4>We sought to assess the feasibility of utilizing SMS technology to deliver TB test results during routine TB diagnostic evaluation in Uganda.<h4>Methods</h4>We conducted a single arm interventional pilot study at four community health centers in Uganda that referred sputum samples to a district hospital for GeneXpert-MTB/RIF (Xpert) testing (Cepheid, USA). Using existing GxAlert-software (SystemOne,USA), we set up an automated SMS platform to send Xpert results to patients and referring health centers. We assessed each step of the SMS delivery cascade for consecutive patients who presented to these four community health centers between December 2015 and March 2016 and underwent Xpert testing.<h4>Results</h4>Of 233 patients enrolled, 161 (69%) had phone numbers recorded on individual Xpert referral forms. Phone numbers were entered into Xpert device software in the correct format for 152 (94%) patients. GxAlert-software generated an automated SMS reporting Xpert results for 151 (99%) patients and delivered it successfully to mobile phone service providers for 145/151 (96%). Of the 123 patients reached by phone to determine receipt of test results, 114 (93%) confirmed SMS receipt. SMS-based delivery of Xpert results was verified for 114/233 (49%) patients overall. In contrast, phone calls to health centers confirmed that health centers received messages for 222/233 (95%) patients.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Reporting Xpert results via automated SMS is technically feasible and results in approximately half of patients receiving their test results immediately. Additional research should be done to address process inefficiencies in order to maximize impact of this technology and link its successful utilization to improved patient outcomes.
Project description:The objectives are to compare the effectiveness of cell phone-supported SMS messaging to standard care on adherence, quality of life, retention, and mortality in a population receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Nairobi, Kenya.A multi-site randomized controlled open-label trial. A central randomization centre provided opaque envelopes to allocate treatments. Patients initiating ART at three comprehensive care clinics in Kenya will be randomized to receive either a structured weekly SMS ('short message system' or text message) slogan (the intervention) or current standard of care support mechanisms alone (the control). Our hypothesis is that using a structured mobile phone protocol to keep in touch with patients will improve adherence to ART and other patient outcomes. Participants are evaluated at baseline, and then at six and twelve months after initiating ART. The care providers keep a weekly study log of all phone based communications with study participants. Primary outcomes are self-reported adherence to ART and suppression of HIV viral load at twelve months scheduled follow-up. Secondary outcomes are improvements in health, quality of life, social and economic factors, and retention on ART. Primary analysis is by 'intention-to-treat'. Sensitivity analysis will be used to assess per-protocol effects. Analysis of covariates will be undertaken to determine factors that contribute or deter from expected and determined outcomes.This study protocol tests whether a novel structured mobile phone intervention can positively contribute to ART management in a resource-limited setting.
Project description:Diabetes patients are usually started on a low dose of insulin and their dose is adjusted or "titrated" according to their blood glucose levels. Insulin titration administered through face-to-face visits with a clinician can be time consuming and logistically burdensome for patients, especially those of low socioeconomic status (SES). Given the wide use of mobile phones among this population, there is the potential to use short message service (SMS) text messaging and phone calls to perform insulin titration remotely.The goals of this pilot study were to (1) evaluate if our Mobile Insulin Titration Intervention (MITI) intervention using text messaging and phone calls was effective in helping patients reach their optimal insulin glargine dose within 12 weeks, (2) assess the feasibility of the intervention within our clinic setting and patient population, (3) collect data on the cost savings associated with the intervention, and (4) measure patient satisfaction with the intervention.This was a pilot study evaluating an intervention for patients requiring insulin glargine titration in the outpatient medical clinic of Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City. Patients in the intervention arm received weekday SMS text messages from a health management platform requesting their fasting blood glucose values. The clinic's diabetes nurse educator monitored the texted responses on the platform website each weekday for alarm values. Once a week, the nurse reviewed the glucose values, consulted the MITI titration algorithm, and called patients to adjust their insulin dose. Patients in the usual care arm continued to receive their standard clinic care for insulin titration. The primary outcome was whether a patient reached his/her optimal insulin glargine dose within 12 weeks.A total of 61 patients consented and were randomized into the study. A significantly greater proportion of patients in the intervention arm reached their optimal insulin glargine dose than patients in the usual care arm (88%, 29/33 vs 37%, 10/27; P<.001). Patients responded to 84.3% (420/498) of the SMS text messages requesting their blood glucose values. The nurse reached patients within 2 attempts or by voicemail 91% of the time (90/99 assigned calls). When patients traveled to the clinic, they spent a median of 45 minutes (IQR 30-60) on travel and 39 minutes (IQR 30-64) waiting prior to appointments. A total of 61% (37/61) of patients had appointment copays. After participating in the study, patients in the intervention arm reported higher treatment satisfaction than those in the usual care arm.MITI is an effective way to help low-SES patients reach their optimal insulin glargine dose using basic SMS text messaging and phone calls. The intervention was feasible and patients were highly satisfied with their treatment. The intervention was cost saving in terms of time for patients, who were able to have their insulin titrated without multiple clinic appointments. Similar interventions should be explored to improve care for low-SES patients managing chronic disease.Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01879579; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01879579 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6YZik33L3).
Project description:BACKGROUND:The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends household contact investigation for tuberculosis (TB) in high-burden countries. However, household contacts who complete evaluation for TB during contact investigation may have difficulty accessing their test results. Use of automated short-messaging services (SMS) to deliver test results could improve TB status awareness and linkage to care. We sought to explore how household contacts experience test results delivered via SMS, and how these experiences influence follow-up intentions. METHODS:We conducted semi-structured interviews with household contacts who participated in a randomized controlled trial evaluating home sputum collection and delivery of TB results via SMS (Pan-African Clinical Trials Registry #201509000877140). We asked about feelings, beliefs, decisions, and behaviors in response to the SMS results. We analyzed the content and emerging themes in relation to the Theory of Planned Behavior. RESULTS:We interviewed and achieved thematic saturation with ten household contacts. Nine received TB-negative results and one a TB-positive result. Household contacts reported relief upon receiving SMS confirming their TB status, but also said they lacked confidence in the results delivered by SMS. Some worried that negative results were incorrect until they spoke to a lay health worker (LHW). Household contacts said their long-term intentions to request help or seek care were influenced by perceived consequences of not observing the LHW's instructions related to the SMS and follow-up procedures; beliefs about the curability of TB; anticipated support from LHWs; and perceived barriers to responding to an SMS request for further evaluation. CONCLUSION:Household contacts experienced relief when they received results. However, they were less confident about results delivered via SMS than results delivered by LHWs. Delivery of results by SMS should complement continued interaction with LHWs, not replace them.
Project description:Patient-provider communication is a major challenge in resource-limited settings with large catchment areas. Though mobile phone usership increased 20-fold in Africa over the past decade, little is known about acceptability of, perceptions about disclosure and confidentiality, and preferences for cell phone communication of health information in the region.We performed structured interviews of fifty patients at the Immune Suppression Syndrome clinic in Mbarara, Uganda to assess four domains of health-related communication: a) cell phone use practices and literacy, b) preferences for laboratory results communication, c) privacy and confidentiality, and d) acceptability of and preferences for text messaging to notify patients of abnormal test results.Participants had a median of 38 years, were 56% female, and were residents of a large catchment area throughout southwestern Uganda. All participants expressed interest in a service to receive information about laboratory results by cell phone text message, stating benefits of increased awareness of their health and decreased transportation costs. Ninety percent reported that they would not be concerned for unintended disclosure. A minority additionally expressed concerns about difficulty interpreting messages, discouragement upon learning bad news, and technical issues. Though all respondents expressed interest in password protection of messages, there was also a strong desire for direct messages to limit misinterpretation of information.Cell phone text messaging for communication of abnormal laboratory results is highly acceptable in this cohort of HIV-infected patients in rural Uganda. The feasibility of text messaging, including an optimal balance between privacy and comprehension, should be further studied.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Previous studies have reported the inconsistent effectiveness of text messaging (short message service, SMS) for improving health outcomes, but few have examined to what degree the quality, or "fidelity," of implementation may explain study results. OBJECTIVE:The aim of this study was to determine the fidelity of a one-time text messaging (SMS) intervention to promote the uptake of tuberculosis evaluation services among household contacts of index patients with tuberculosis. METHODS:From February to June 2017, we nested a process evaluation of text message (SMS) delivery within the intervention arm of a randomized controlled trial of tuberculosis contact investigation in Kampala, Uganda. Because mobile service providers in Uganda do not provide delivery confirmations, we asked household tuberculosis contacts to confirm the receipt of a one-time tuberculosis-related text message (SMS) by sending a text message (SMS) reply through a toll-free "short code." Two weeks later, a research officer followed up by telephone to confirm the receipt of the one-time text message (SMS) and administer a survey. We considered participants lost to follow-up after 3 unsuccessful call attempts on 3 separate days over a 1-week period. RESULTS:Of 206 consecutive household contacts, 119 had a text message (SMS) initiated from the server. While 33% (39/119) were children aged 5-14 years, including 20% (24/119) girls and 13% (15/119) boys, 18 % (21/119) were adolescents or young adults, including 12% (14/119) young women and 6% (7/119) young men. 50% (59/119) were adults, including 26% (31/119) women and 24% (28/119) men. Of 107 (90%) participants for whom we could ascertain text message (SMS) receipt status, 67% (72/107) confirmed text message (SMS) receipt, including 22% (24/107) by reply text message (SMS) and 45% (48/107) during the follow-up telephone survey. No significant clinical or demographic differences were observed between those who did and did not report receiving the text message (SMS). Furthermore, 52% (56/107) reported ever reading the SMS. The cumulative likelihood of a text message (SMS) reaching its target and being read and retained by a participant was 19%. CONCLUSIONS:The fidelity of a one-time text message (SMS) intervention to increase the uptake of household tuberculosis contact investigation and linkage to care was extremely low, a fact only discoverable through detailed process evaluation. This study suggests the need for systematic process monitoring and reporting of implementation fidelity in both research studies and programmatic interventions using mobile communications to improve health.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Homeless smokers want to quit smoking but face numerous barriers to doing so, including pervasive smoking among peers and a lack of social support for quitting. An SMS (short message service) text messaging intervention could address these challenges by providing virtual daily support for homeless smokers who are trying to quit but coping with multiple triggers to smoke. OBJECTIVE:This study aimed to assess whether a free SMS text messaging program, added to evidence-based pharmacotherapy and counseling, improved smoking abstinence among homeless adult smokers. METHODS:From October 2015 to June 2016, we conducted an 8-week pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) of nicotine patch therapy and weekly in-person counseling with (n=25) or without (n=25) SmokefreeTXT, a free SMS text messaging service administered by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program. All participants were provided with a mobile phone and a 2-month prepaid voice and text plan at no cost. SmokefreeTXT enrollees were sent 1 to 5 automated SMS text messages daily for up to 8 weeks and could receive on-demand tips for managing cravings, mood symptoms, and smoking lapses. The primary outcome was smoking abstinence, defined as an exhaled carbon monoxide count of <8 parts per million, assessed 14 times over 8 weeks of follow-up, and analyzed using repeated-measures logistic regression with generalized estimating equations. Other outcomes were use of SmokefreeTXT, assessed by data obtained from NCI; perceptions of SmokefreeTXT, assessed by surveys and qualitative interviews; and mobile phone retention, assessed by self-report. RESULTS:Of the SmokefreeTXT arm participants (n=25), 88% (22) enrolled in the program, but only 56% (14) had confirmed enrollment for ?2 weeks. Among 2-week enrollees, the median response rate to interactive messages from SmokefreeTXT was 2.1% (interquartile range 0-10.5%). Across all time points, smoking abstinence did not differ significantly between SmokefreeTXT and control arm participants (odds ratio 0.92, 95% CI 0.30-2.84). Of SmokefreeTXT enrollees who completed exit surveys (n=15), two-thirds were very or extremely satisfied with the program. However, qualitative interviews (n=14) revealed that many participants preferred in-person intervention formats over phone-based, found the SMS text messages impersonal and robotic, and felt that the messages were too frequent and repetitive. Only 40% (10/25) of SmokefreeTXT arm participants retained their study-supplied mobile phone for the 8-week duration of the trial, with phone theft being common. Storing and charging phones were cited as challenges. CONCLUSIONS:SmokefreeTXT, added to nicotine patch therapy and in-person counseling, did not significantly improve smoking abstinence in this 8-week pilot RCT for homeless smokers. SMS text messaging interventions for this population should be better tuned to the unique circumstances of homelessness and coupled with efforts to promote mobile phone retention over time. TRIAL REGISTRATION:ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02565381; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02565381 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/78PLpDptZ).
Project description:BACKGROUND: Given the ubiquity of mobile phones, their use to support healthcare in the Indian context is inevitable. It is however necessary to assess end-user perceptions regarding mobile health interventions especially in the rural Indian context prior to its use in healthcare. This would contextualize the use of mobile phone communication for health to 70% of the country's population that resides in rural India. OBJECTIVES: To explore the acceptability of delivering healthcare interventions through mobile phones among users in a village in rural Bangalore. METHODS: This was an exploratory study of 488 mobile phone users, residing in a village, near Bangalore city, Karnataka, South India. A pretested, translated, interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to obtain data on mobile phone usage patterns and acceptability of the mobile phone, as a tool for health-related communication. The data is described using basic statistical measures. RESULTS: The primary use of mobile phones was to make or receive phone calls (100%). Text messaging (SMS) was used by only 70 (14%) of the respondents. Most of the respondents, 484 (99%), were willing to receive health-related information on their mobile phones and did not consider receiving such information, an intrusion into their personal life. While receiving reminders for drug adherence was acceptable to most 479 (98%) of our respondents, 424 (89%) preferred voice calls alone to other forms of communication. Nearly all were willing to use their mobile phones to communicate with health personnel in emergencies and 367 (75%) were willing to consult a doctor via the phone in an acute illness. Factors such as sex, English literacy, employment status, and presence of chronic disease affected preferences regarding mode and content of communication. CONCLUSION: The mobile phone, as a tool for receiving health information and supporting healthcare through mHealth interventions was acceptable in the rural Indian context.