A SmartTB: An Integrated Digital Patient-Centric Tool for Promoting Adherence to Treatment among People Living with TB in Tanzania

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Joan Jonathan Mnyambo
Alcardo Barakabitze

Keywords

Digital healthcare, Digital Patient-Centric Tool, Electronic health records, Tuberculosis, Treatment, Monitoring

Abstract

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the most common killer diseases in Tanzania. The WHO report shows that a person infected with TB bacteria can be treated and prevented. During treatment, TB patients are required to visit a health facility to take medication. A 6-month course of drug treatment has been shown to successfully treat approximately 85% of infected individuals and reduce transmission of the disease. Despite this, there is a high rate of TB patients who discontinue treatment, consequently forgetting to visit the clinics at the required appointments to take medication. In this context, TB patients remain ill for a long time, which leads to drug-resistant TB. In addition, DOT nurses have difficulty identifying TB patients who miss a dose and are therefore unable to follow up by phone or home visits. This results in poor reporting that delays decision-making for TB management. The application of digital technologies such as artificial intelligence in healthcare has shown potential in healthcare services, including TB treatment and monitoring. In an effort to improve and maintain the quality of TB care, we have developed an integrated digital patient-centric tool called SmartTB that promotes treatment adherence among people living with TB in Tanzania and supports real-time reporting and monitoring. Using the agile methodology, requirements analysis was acquired from three hospitals in Tanzania, and user acceptance testing was implemented to validate the performance of the system before launch. The validation results show that SmartTB can improve TB treatment, monitoring, and reporting. Therefore, policymakers must consider the use and integration

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