Although antiretroviral therapy (ART) is available to treat HIV+ persons and prevent transmission, ineffective delivery of care may delay ART use, impede viral suppression (VS), and contribute to racial/ethnic disparities along the continuum of care. This study tested the effects of a bi-directional laboratory health information exchange (LHIE) intervention on each of these outcomes.Methods:
We used a quasi-experimental, interrupted time-series design to examine whether the LHIE intervention improved ART use and VS, and reduced racial/ethnic disparities in these outcomes among HIV+ patients (N = 1181) in a comprehensive HIV/AIDS clinic in Southern California. Main outcome measures were ART pharmacy fill and HIV viral load laboratory data extracted from the medical records over 3 years. Race/ethnicity and an indicator for the intervention (after vs. before) were the main predictors. The analysis involved 3-stage, multivariable logistic regression with generalized estimating equations.Results:
Overall, the intervention predicted greater odds of ART use (odds ratio [OR] = 2.50; 95% confidence interval: 2.29 to 2.73; P < 0.001) and VS (OR = 1.12; 95% confidence interval: 1.04 to 1.21; P < 0.05) in the final models that included sociodemographic, behavioral, and clinical covariates. Before the intervention, there were significant black/white disparities in ART use OR = 0.75 (0.58–0.98; P = 0.04) and VS OR = 0.75 (0.61–0.92; P = 0.001). After the intervention, the black/white disparities decreased after adjusting for sociodemographics and the number of HIV care visits, and Latinos had greater odds than whites of ART use and VS, adjusting for covariates.Conclusions:
The intervention improved overall ART treatment and VS, and reduced black/white disparities. LHIE interventions may hold promise if implemented among similar patients.