If you text them, they will come: using the HIV infant tracking system to improve early infant diagnosis quality and retention in Kenya


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Abstract

Objective:The objective of this study is to evaluate the impact of the HIV Infant Tracking System (HITSystem) for quality improvement of early infant diagnosis (EID) of HIV services.Design and Setting:This observational pilot study compared 12 months of historical preintervention EID outcomes at one urban and one peri-urban government hospital in Kenya to 12 months of intervention data to assess retention and time throughout the EID cascade of care.Participants:Mother–infant pairs enrolled in EID at participating hospitals before (n = 320) and during (n = 523) the HITSystem pilot were eligible to participate.Intervention:The HITSystem utilizes Internet-based coordination of the multistep PCR cycle, automated alerts to trigger prompt action from providers and laboratory technicians, and text messaging to notify mothers when results are ready or additional action is needed.Main outcome measures:The main outcome measures were retention throughout EID services, meeting time-sensitive targets and improving results turn-around time, and increasing early antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation among HIV-infected infants.Results:The HITSystem was associated with an increase in the proportion of HIV-exposed infants retained in EID care at 9 months postnatal (45.1–93.0% urban; 43.2–94.1% peri-urban), a decrease in turn-around times between sample collection, PCR results and notification of mothers in both settings, and a significant increase in the proportion of HIV-infected infants started on antiretroviral therapy at each hospital(14 vs. 100% urban; 64 vs. 100% peri-urban).Conclusion:The HITSystem maximizes the use of easily accessible technology to improve the quality and efficiency of EID services in resource-limited settings.

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