mHealth and Infectious Disease: The Opportunity for Public Health Departments to Treat Tuberculosis Remotely
Written jointly by PHI's Center for Connected Health Policy and the National Tuberculosis Controllers Association (NTCA), this article presents analysis of a survey conducted in 2015 to assess the utilization, outcomes and support needs of electronic directly observed therapy (eDOT).
Directly observed therapy (DOT) is a CDC recommended practice for administering medication to tuberculosis (TB) patients where a provider directly observes the patient taking medication. eDOT uses modern technology to allow providers to observe patients taking medication remotely.
Approximately three quarters of respondents were currently using, implementing, or planning to use eDOT at the time of the survey, exceeding expectations. However, among most programs using eDOT, patient usage was only 10% or less. The reason for the low rate of patient usage could not be captured in the scope of the survey. When compared to in-person DOT, respondents considered eDOT to be equally or more effective. Reported benefits centered on cost savings and patient and provider satisfaction while the most noted concern was internet connectivity.
Recommendations for future research and the expansion of eDOT usage include:
- Changing policies to allow reimbursement for eDOT
- Developing best practice guidelines for eDOT
- Providing training for eDOT Conducting research on using eDOT to treat other infectious diseases and illnesses
- Conducting a large-scale national study on eDOT effectiveness and best practices
- Exploring reasons for low patient usage of eDOT among providers offering the service