Tuberculosis patients can now use a smartphone video-based app instead of a daily in-person visit by a healthcare worker, which is required for the treatment of the disease.
Moreover, the app, which provides video Directly Observed Therapy (video DOT), is also inexpensive and more private for patients compared to in-person visits.
Directly Observed Therapy (DOT) is a specific strategy, endorsed by the World Health Organization, where a trained health care worker or other designated individual provides the prescribed TB drugs to patient and records each dose.
The newly developed app, allows patients to record their doses without the need of a healthcare worker.
"We believe video DOT offers an alternative that appears to be as effective as an in-person daily visits by health care workers to assure compliance with drug treatment, but also empowers patients to manage their TB without added stress," said Samuel Holzman, a research student at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, according to brinkwire.com.
He addressed the fact that meeting a health provider every single day is logistically challenging and can also be personally invasive. It is likely that the video-based app will come handy here.
The researchers conducted a pilot study with 28 adult TB patients being treated at three health departments in Maryland to understand how effective the app is.
The study, published in the journal Open Forum Infectious Diseases, found that patient adherence to treatment was almost the same between the video DOT and in-person DOT, 94 percent and 98 percent respectively, reported brinkwire.com.
Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease that primarily affects the lungs but can also spread to other organs.
According to World Health Organization, 1.7 million died from the disease (including 0.4 million among people with HIV) in 2016 and over 95% of deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.