Title: Improving care – improving access: the use of electronic decision support with AIDS patients in South Africa

Authors: Marc Mitchell, Neal Lesh, Hilarie Cranmer, Hamish Fraser, Irina Haivas, Kate Wolf

Addresses: Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health, 165 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA, 02115, USA. ' D-Tree International, Weston, MA, USA. ' Harvard Medical School, Department of Emergency Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA. ' Division of Global Health Equity, Brigham and Womens Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA. ' 55A Lambs Conduit Street, WC1N 3NB, London, UK. ' 50 Old Concord Rd., Lincoln, MA 01773, USA

Abstract: The shortage of physicians has severely limited the expansion of AIDS treatment programs in Africa. This paper presents a novel approach to scaling up treatment utilising counsellors with specially developed clinical algorithms on a hand-held computer to screen patients and maintain patient records in settings where doctors are limited. We screened AIDS patients in two clinics in South Africa to determine whether they could safely continue their current treatment regimen or required consultation with a physician. Following these validation trials, we will scale up this program and include linkage of these algorithms with patient records stored on the device.

Keywords: mobile technology; decision support systems; electronic DSS; HIV/AIDS; scaling up treatment; quality of care; mobile communications; AIDS patients; South Africa; hand-held computers; patient screening; e-health; electronic healthcare; patient records; healthcare technology.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHTM.2009.025819

International Journal of Healthcare Technology and Management, 2009 Vol.10 No.3, pp.156 - 168

Published online: 24 May 2009 *

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