Telemedicine Training and Support for Community Health Workers: Improving Knowledge of Diabetes.
ABSTRACT: Background: Community health workers (CHWs) are a well-established source to improve patient health care, yet their training and support remain suboptimal. This limits program expansion and potentially compromises patient safety. The objective of the study was to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of weekly training and support by telemedicine (videoconferencing). Materials and Methods: CHWs (n?=?6) who led diabetes group visits for low-income Latinos met weekly with a health care professional for training and support. Feasibility and acceptability outcome measures included telemedicine usability, knowledge of diabetes (baseline to 6 months), and program satisfaction. Results: Telemedicine training and support were found to be feasible and acceptable as measured by usability (Telehealth Usability Questionnaire: average 4.7/5.0, ±0.4), knowledge (Diabetes Knowledge Test: pretest 15.8?±?1.3, posttest 21.8?±?1.2, p?Conclusions: Telemedicine is a feasible and acceptable modality to train and support CHWs.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:To examine the feasibility and acceptability of integrating a 'designated' approach to community health worker (CHW)-delivered mental health counselling (where existing CHWs deliver counselling in addition to usual duties) and a 'dedicated' approach (where additional CHWs have the sole responsibility of delivering mental health counselling) into chronic disease care. DESIGN:A feasibility test of a designated and dedicated approach to CHW-delivered counselling and qualitative interviews of CHWs delivering the counselling. SETTING:Four primary healthcare clinics in the Western Cape, South Africa allocated to either a designated or dedicated approach and stratified by urban/rural status. PARTICIPANTS:Forty chronic disease patients (20 with HIV, 20 with diabetes) reporting hazardous alcohol use or depression. Interviews with seven CHWs. INTERVENTION:Three sessions of structured mental health counselling. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:We assessed feasibility by examining the proportion of patients who were willing to be screened, met inclusion criteria, provided consent, completed counselling and were retained in the study. Acceptability of these delivery approaches was assessed through qualitative interviews of CHWs. RESULTS:Regardless of approach, a fair proportion (67%) of eligible patients were willing to receive mental health counselling. Patients who screened positive for depression were more likely to be interested in counselling than those with hazardous alcohol only. Retention in counselling (85%) and the study (90%) was good and did not differ by approach. Both dedicated and designated CHWs viewed the counselling package as highly acceptable but requested additional training and support to facilitate implementation. CONCLUSIONS:Dedicated and designated approaches to CHW-delivered mental health counselling were matched in terms of their feasibility and acceptability. A comparative efficacy trial of these approaches is justified, with some adjustments to the training and implementation protocols to provide further support to CHWs.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Community Health Workers (CHWs) have a crucial role in improving health in their communities and their role is being expanded in many parts of the world. However, the effectiveness of CHWs is limited by poor training and the education of CHWs has received little scientific attention. METHODS:Our study was carried out in two districts of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. We developed and piloted an inexpensive (two day) training intervention covering national government priorities: HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted disease and Tuberculosis; and Women's Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. Sixty-four CHWs consented to participate in the main study which measured knowledge gains using a modified Solomon design of four different testing schedules to distinguish between the effects of the intervention, testing and any interaction between intervention and testing. We also measured confidence, satisfaction and costs. RESULTS:Following the training intervention, improvements in knowledge scores were seen across topics and across districts. These changes in knowledge were statistically significant (p<0.001) and of large magnitude (over 45 percentage points or four standard deviations). However, the CHWs assigned to the test-test-train schedule in one district showed high gains in knowledge prior to receiving the training. All CHWs reported high levels of satisfaction with the training and marked improvements in their confidence in advising clients. The training cost around US$48 per CHW per day and has the potential to be cost-effective if the large gains in knowledge are translated into improved field-based performance and thus health outcomes. CONCLUSION:Training CHWs can result in large improvements in knowledge with a short intervention. However, improvements seen in other studies could be due to test 'reactivity'. Further work is needed to measure the generalisability of our results, retention of knowledge and the extent to which improved knowledge is translated into improved practice.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Training community health workers (CHWs) builds a workforce that is essential to addressing the chronic disease crisis. This article describes a highly replicable CHW training program that targets heart disease risk among African American women. BACKGROUND:African American women suffer disproportionately from heart disease mortality and morbidity. Well-trained CHWs are uniquely positioned to close this disparity gap. Method. We used a Learning Circle approach to train CHWs in heart health education. The curriculum blended web-based, self-directed learning and in-person peer coaching. CHWs learned through (a) peer-to-peer sharing, (b) problem solving and brainstorming, and (c) leadership and experiential activities. Training evaluation measures were CHWs' (a) self-confidence, (b) heart health knowledge, (c) satisfaction with training, (d) training retention, and (e) replication of training within 90 days after training. RESULTS:This training resulted in appreciable effects on four of five outcome measures. Heart health knowledge increased significantly among experienced CHWs (p = .011). CHWs were satisfied with training and retention was 100%. CHWs initiated and subsequently delivered 122 person hours of community heart health education and CHW training in their communities. DISCUSSION/CONCLUSION:CHW heart health training using Learning Circles is a practical and replicable method of training CHWs and holds significant potential for building capacity in resource-poor community organizations.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To assess the feasibility and acceptability of training community health workers (CHWs) in ear and hearing care, and their ability to identify patients with ear and hearing disorders. DESIGN:Cluster randomised controlled trial (RCT). SETTING:Health centres in Thyolo district, Malawi. PARTICIPANTS:Ten health centres participated, 5 intervention (29 CHWs) and 5 control (28 CHWs). INTERVENTION:Intervention CHWs received 3 days of training in primary ear and hearing care, while among control CHWs, training was delayed for 6 months. Both groups were given a pretest that assessed knowledge about ear and hearing care, only the intervention group was given the posttest on the third day of training. The intervention group was given 1?month to identify patients with ear and hearing disorders in their communities, and these people were screened for hearing disorders by ear, nose and throat clinical specialists. OUTCOME MEASURES:Primary outcome measure was improvement in knowledge of ear and hearing care among CHWs after the training. Secondary outcome measures were number of patients with ear or hearing disorders identified by CHWs and number recorded at health centres during routine activities, and the perceived feasibility and acceptability of the intervention. RESULTS:The average overall correct answers increased from 55% to 68% (95% CI 65 to 71) in the intervention group (p<0.001). A total of 1739 patients with potential ear and hearing disorders were identified by CHWs and 860 patients attended the screening camps, of whom 400 had hearing loss (73 patients determined through bilateral fail on otoacoustic emissions, 327 patients through audiometry). Where cause could be determined, the most common cause of ear and hearing disorders was chronic suppurative otitis media followed by impacted wax. The intervention was perceived as feasible and acceptable to implement. CONCLUSIONS:Training was effective in improving the knowledge of CHW in ear and hearing care in Malawi and allowing them to identify patients with ear and hearing disorders. This intervention could be scaled up to other CHWs in low-income and middle-income countries. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER:Pan African Clinical Trial Registry (201705002285194); Results.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Despite efforts to improve patient outcomes, major morbidity and mortality remain common after surgery. Health information technologies that provide decision support for clinicians might improve perioperative and postoperative patient care. Evaluating the usability of these technologies and barriers to their implementation can facilitate their acceptance within health systems. OBJECTIVE:This manuscript describes usability testing and refinement of an innovative telemedicine-based clinical support system, the Anesthesiology Control Tower (ACT). It also reports stakeholders' perceptions of the barriers and facilitators to implementation of the intervention. METHODS:Three phases of testing were conducted in an iterative manner. Phase 1 testing employed a think-aloud protocol analysis to identify surface-level usability problems with individual software components of the ACT and its structure. Phase 2 testing involved an extended qualitative and quantitative real-world usability analysis. Phase 3 sought to identify major barriers and facilitators to implementation of the ACT through semistructured interviews with key stakeholders. RESULTS:Phase 1 and phase 2 usability testing sessions identified numerous usability problems with the software components of the ACT. The ACT platform was revised in seven iterations in response to these usability concerns. Initial satisfaction with the ACT, as measured by standardized instruments, was below commonly accepted cutoffs for these measures. Satisfaction improved to acceptable levels over the course of revision and testing. A number of barriers to implementation were also identified and addressed during the refinement of the ACT intervention. CONCLUSIONS:The ACT model can improve the standard of perioperative anesthesia care. Through our thorough and iterative usability testing process and stakeholder assessment of barriers and facilitators, we enhanced the acceptability of this novel technology and improved our ability to implement this innovation into routine practice. INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID):RR2-10.1186/s40814-018-0233-4.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Countries with health workforce shortages are increasingly turning to multipurpose community health workers (CHWs) to extend integrated services to the community-level. However, there may be tradeoffs with the number of tasks a CHW can effectively perform before quality and/or productivity decline. This qualitative study was conducted within an existing program in Iringa, Tanzania where HIV-focused CHWs working as volunteers received additional training on maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) promotion, thereby establishing a dual role CHW model. METHODS:To evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of the combined HIV/MNCH CHW model, qualitative in-depth interviews (IDIs) with 36 CHWs, 21 supervisors, and 10 program managers were conducted following integration of HIV and MNCH responsibilities (n=67). Thematic analysis explored perspectives on task planning, prioritization and integration, workload, and the feasibility and acceptability of the dual role model. Interview data and field observations were also used to describe implementation differences between HIV and MNCH roles as a basis for further contextualizing the qualitative findings. RESULTS:Perspectives from a diverse set of stakeholders suggested provision of both HIV and MNCH health promotion by CHWs was feasible. Most CHWs attempted to balance HIV/MNCH responsibilities, although some prioritized MNCH tasks. An increased workload from MNCH did not appear to interfere with HIV responsibilities but drew time away from other income-generating activities on which volunteer CHWs rely. Satisfaction with the dual role model hinged on increased community respect, gaining new knowledge/skills, and improving community health, while the remuneration-level caused dissatisfaction, a complaint that could challenge sustainability. Conclusions: Despite extensive literature on integration, little research at the community level exists. This study demonstrated CHWs can feasibly balance HIV and MNCH roles, but not without some challenges related to the heavier workload. Further research is necessary to determine the quality of health promotion in both HIV and MNCH domains, and whether the dual role model can be maintained over time among these volunteers.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Manually counting a child's respiratory rate (RR) for 60 seconds using an acute respiratory infection timer is the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended method for detecting fast breathing as a sign of pneumonia. However, counting the RR is challenging and misclassification of an observed rate is common, often leading to inappropriate treatment. To address this gap, the acute respiratory infection diagnostic aid (ARIDA) project was initiated in response to a call for better pneumonia diagnostic aids and aimed to identify and assess automated RR counters for classifying fast breathing pneumonia when used by front-line health workers in resource-limited community settings and health facilities. The Children's Automated Respiration Monitor (ChARM), an automated RR diagnostic aid using accelerometer technology developed by Koninklijke Philips NV, and the Rad-G, a multimodal RR diagnostic and pulse oximeter developed by Masimo, were the two devices tested in these studies conducted in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region in Ethiopia and in the Karnali region in Nepal. OBJECTIVE:In these studies, we aimed to understand the usability of two new automated RR diagnostic aids for community health workers (CHWs; health extension workers [Ethiopia] and female community health volunteers [Nepal]) and their acceptability to CHWs in Ethiopia and Nepal, first-level health facility workers (FLHFWs) in Ethiopia only, and caregivers in both Ethiopia and Nepal. METHODS:This was a prospective, cross-sectional study with a mixed methods design. CHWs and FLHFWs were trained to use both devices and provided with refresher training on all WHO requirements to assess fast breathing. Immediately after training, CHWs were observed using ARIDA on two children. Routine pneumonia case management consultations for children aged 5 years and younger and the device used for these consultations between the first and second consultations were recorded by CHWs in their patient log books. CHWs were observed a second time after 2 months. Semistructured interviews were also conducted with CHWs, FLHFWs, and caregivers. The proportion of consultations with children aged 5 years and younger where CHWs using an ARIDA and adhered to all WHO requirements to assess fast breathing and device manufacturer instructions for use after 2 months will be calculated. Qualitative data from semistructured interviews will be analyzed using a thematic framework approach. RESULTS:The ARIDA project was funded in November 2015, and data collection was conducted between April and December 2018. Data analysis is currently under way and the first results are expected to be submitted for publication in 2020. CONCLUSIONS:This is the first time the usability and acceptability of automated RR counters in low-resource settings have been evaluated. Outcomes will be relevant for policy makers and are important for future research of this new class of diagnostic aids for the management of children with suspected pneumonia. INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID):DERR1-10.2196/14405.
Project description:Diabetes is becoming a very important health issue in rapidly developing nations and there is an urgent need to improve overall diabetes self-management education in these countries. Although e-health is an emerging theme, only a few successful web-based studies on diabetes self-management have been reported.We describe the development, implementation, and process evaluation of an Internet-delivered dietary intervention program (myDIDeA) for diabetic patients in a developing country.Specific dietary components to be included in the intervention module were first identified through a comprehensive review of literature and guidelines. The lesson plans and the study website were then developed based on the evidence, Transtheoretical Model's Stages of Change and user-centered design approach. Finally, the effectiveness of the website was tested through a randomized-controlled trial to promote dietary change in patients with type 2 diabetes. The participants in the intervention group (n?=?66) were given access to myDIDeA for 6 months. Process evaluation in form of intervention adherence and program reception were conducted at post intervention.The response rate for the process evaluation was 89%. On average, each participant logged in at least once for each lesson plan and spent almost 12 min on the site. The participants' content satisfaction, acceptability, and usability scores were satisfactory. The primary outcome of the trial, Dietary Knowledge, Attitude, and Behavior score was strongly correlated with content satisfaction (r?=?0.826, p?<?0.001), acceptability (r?=?0.793, p?<?0.001) and usability of the website (r?=?0.724, p?<?0.001), and moderately correlated with frequency of log-in (r?=?0.501, p?<?0.05) and duration spent in the website (r?=?0.399, p?<?0.05).The process evaluation of myDIDeA demonstrates its feasibility, and future studies should identify the possibility of extending the use of Internet-based intervention programs to other health behaviors and issues related to self-management of chronic conditions. In addition, interactivity, peer support via social media, and other means to stimulate the interest of participants can be explored.
Project description:Background:Despite the positive effects of community health workers (CHWs) on addressing social determinants of health, improving patient health outcomes, and decreasing overall healthcare costs, there is a lack of standardization in training and certifying this workforce, resulting in different approaches to integrating this role into medical home models. The purpose of the current study is to evaluate the application of Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) in enhancing CHWs' capacity to address health and social issues of vulnerable populations. Methods:An explanatory sequential mixed methods design was applied in which all participants (N = 49) completed pre (January 2019) and post (July 2019) quantitative online surveys measuring changes in self-efficacy, behavior change intent, and knowledge. Virtual focus groups were conducted with a subset of participants (n = 20) in July 2019 to assess the feasibility, acceptability, and impact of Project ECHO. Results:There was a statistically significant difference of + 0.453 in the composite self-efficacy mean score pre- to post-series. For every 1 additional Project ECHO CHW session attended, there was a .05 improvement in participants' self-efficacy to perform CHW-related job duties and address social determinants of health (SDOH). Four major themes emerged from the qualitative focus group data: value in learning from other participants' caseloads, CHW-care team integration, availability of training and resources, and shared decision-making with patients. Conclusions:This evaluation suggests that ECHO is a viable means of increasing access to training resources for CHWs. Future studies on the ECHO model as a means of educating and broadening implementation of CHWs are warranted. Programs such as Project ECHO can support CHWs by providing continuing education opportunities, as well as standardizing training content across large geographic areas.
Project description:Objective:To adapt an evidence-based intervention targeting diabetes management in adolescents with poorly controlled type 1 diabetes for use in a community setting by community health workers (CHWs) and to conduct pilot testing of the new intervention, REACH for Control (RFC). The study was conducted as a collaboration between university researchers and a federally qualified health center. Methods?In a pilot effectiveness trial, feasibility and acceptability of RFC were evaluated based on participant enrollment, treatment dose, and consumer satisfaction. RFC effects on adolescent adherence, health outcomes, and quality of life were also assessed. The trial used a parallel group design. Families were randomized to 6 months of RFC plus standard medical care (n?=?26) or standard care (SC) only (n?=?24). Data were collected at baseline and 7-month posttest. A mixed-methods approach was used to analyze data. Results:Qualitative analyses suggested that caregivers viewed RFC and delivery of a home-based intervention by CHWs positively. Furthermore, adolescents who received RFC had statistically significant (p = .05) and clinically meaningful improvements in hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) (0.7%) and reported significant improvements in quality of life from baseline to follow-up (p = .001). No significant changes were found for adolescents in standard medical care. However, while dose of primary intervention session delivered was acceptable, dose of follow-up sessions used for skills practice was low. Conclusions:Results provide preliminary support for RFC's acceptability and effectiveness to improve health status and quality of life when used in community settings serving high-risk, low-income families. Additional testing in a full-scale effectiveness trial appears warranted.