Background: Directly observed therapy (DOT) remains an integral component of treatment support and adherence monitoring in tuberculosis care. In-person DOT is resource intensive and often burdensome for patients. Video DOT (vDOT) has been proposed as an alternative to increase treatment flexibility and better meet patient-specific needs.
Methods: We conducted a pragmatic, prospective pilot implementation of vDOT at 3 TB clinics in Maryland. A mixed-methods approach was implemented to assess (1) effectiveness, (2) acceptability, and (3) cost. Medication adherence on vDOT was compared with that of in-person DOT. Interviews and surveys were conducted with patients and providers before and after implementation, with framework analysis utilized to extract salient themes. Last, a cost analysis assessed the economic impacts of vDOT implementation across heterogeneous clinic structures.
Results: Medication adherence on vDOT was comparable to that of in-person DOT (94% vs 98%, P = .17), with a higher percentage of total treatment doses (inclusive of weekend/holiday self-administration) ultimately observed during the vDOT period (72% vs 66%, P = .03). Video DOT was well received by staff and patients alike, who cited increased treatment flexibility, convenience, and patient privacy. Our cost analysis estimated a savings with vDOT of $1391 per patient for a standard 6-month treatment course.
Conclusions: Video DOT is an acceptable and important option for measurement of TB treatment adherence and may allow a higher proportion of prescribed treatment doses to be observed, compared with in-person DOT. Video DOT may be cost-saving and should be considered as a component of individualized, patient-centered case management plans.
Keywords: mHealth; medication adherence; telemedicine; tuberculosis; video DOT.