Electronic reminders improve TB treatment adherence in China
China has the second largest TB case rates in the world. The nation intends to increase its use of medication monitor throughout the upcoming five years. This will improve both individual and national health.
“Global plans to reduce TB advise that treatment be taken under the direct observation of a healthcare worker to reduce missed doses, something which has been difficult to carry out in many parts of China, particularly in rural areas, as in other parts of world,” Dr. Katherine Fielding, senior author from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said. “Innovative approaches are needed to tackle this problem.”
By scanning electron micrograph by Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria, China hopes to decrease the number of missed medication doses by 50 percent.
“Our study is the first large-scale randomized trial to carefully evaluate whether electronic reminders can help patents to take their tuberculosis treatment on their own,” Fielding said. “Our findings show real promise. A low-cost, reliable electronic medication monitor could improve TB treatment for thousands of people across China.”
Experts attribute China’s high TB rates to a variety of factors.
“Directly observed therapy is difficult to implement in China due to limited human resources, poor acceptance and other factors,” Dr. Shiwen Jiang, medication monitor boxProject investigator and scientist at the National Center for Tuberculosis Control and Prevention, said. “Our study aimed to assess whether the use of the medication monitor and/or text messaging can improve adherence to TB drugs. Our results are encouraging. We are currently planning a further evaluation of a management model including the use the medication monitor on long-term TB outcomes including TB recurrence. China plans to scale up the use of medication monitors in some provinces in the next five years.”
Further details are available in PLOS Medicine.