Evaluation of miLINC to shorten time to treatment for rifampicin-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis

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The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease

Achieving the 90–90–90 targets for tuberculosis (TB) will require interventions that enhance diagnosis, linkage, treatment and adherence to care. As a first step in the process, our team designed a suite of smartphone applications known as miLINC to improve time from diagnosis to treatment initiation in drug-resistant TB patients.

Three clinical locations in a large, peri-urban district in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

To assess the acceptability, feasibility and impact of the miLINC mobile health applications as a solution to reducing the time from presentation to treatment initiation of rifampicin-resistant (RR) TB patients.

We used a prospective, observational quality improvement evaluation of miLINC's impact among newly diagnosed patients with RR-TB.

A convenience sample comprising details of 6341 patients with presumptive TB were entered into miLINC. Of the 631 TB-positive sputum specimens, 41 (6.5%) were found to be RR-TB. The mean time from clinical presentation to RR-TB treatment initiation was 3 days, 21 h, 17 min.

This is the first study to suggest that the time from presentation to diagnosis and to treatment initiation for patients with RR-TB can be significantly improved using an integrated approach combining technology with appropriate human resources.

Farley, J. E; McKenzie-White, J; Bollinger, R; Hong, H; Lowensen, K; Chang, L. W; Stamper, P; Berrie, L; Olsen, F; Isherwood, L; Ndjeka, N; Stevens, W. Evaluation of miLINC to shorten time to treatment for rifampicin-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis. International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. 2019 Sep;23(9):980-988(9).