UC San Diego and Verizon Foundation to Demonstrate New Therapy System on Aug. 15 That Uses Mobile Technology to Help Ensure Tuberculosis Patients Follow Critical Treatment
SAN DIEGO, Aug. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — The University of California San Diego and the Verizon Foundation will demonstrate a new therapy system designed to ensure that tuberculosis patients follow their treatment regimen on Thursday (Aug. 15) at the university’s main campus. The program, Video Directly Observed Therapy (VDOT), enables patients to record their daily treatments on smartphones and send them to health departments, which can monitor them remotely. The program was created by researchers at University of California San Diego’s School of Medicine and Qualcomm Institute/Calit2.
Tuberculosis remains a serious healthcare challenge in the U.S. and globally. California, New York, Texas and Florida now account for more than half of TB cases nationally. Globally, TB is the second leading cause of infectious disease deaths and has killed more people than all other pandemics combined.
The disease is curable if patients follow a strict antibiotic regimen, which typically requires taking a combination of pills daily for six months. However, inappropriate treatment regimens and poor medication adherence have led to the emergence of drug-resistant strains of the bacterium. As a result, TB, which had been curable for decades, is once again becoming incurable.
Currently, healthcare workers visit patients daily and observe them taking their medications. The procedure is costly and intrusive to patients, which is why some of them stop following their treatment plan.
A National Institutes of Health-funded pilot of VDOT in San Diego and Tijuana found that more than 93 percent of prescribed doses were observed using videos made and sent by the patients, and 100 percent of patients said they would recommend VDOT to other TB patients. Additionally, the program significantly reduced the transportation and staffing costs for the San Diego and Tijuana health departments.
The Verizon Foundation partnered with UCSD to accelerate the impact that the innovative VDOT model could have by providing funding and in-kind technology that enable the university to expand the number of patients who can be included in the regimen in San Diego, and to launch similar programs in San Francisco and New York City. The technology includes smartphone devices and service to seed the program expansion in additional public health departments across the U.S. The VDOT application is currently hosted on Verizon’s HIPAA-compliant cloud, which enables the expansion of the program to more patients and health agencies.
WHAT: A demonstration of new TB Video Directly Observed Therapy. (The demonstration will be streamed live at http://calit2.net/webcasting/jwplayer/index.php.) WHEN: Thursday, Aug. 15, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. WHERE: University of California, San Diego Calit2's Black Box Theatre, Atkinson Hall Voigt Drive & Engineer Lane La Jolla, Calif., 92093 WHO: Richard S. Garfein, professor, UC San Diego, School of Medicine Division of Global Public Health, Ramesh Rao, director, UC San Diego Calit2 Kathleen Moser, Director, TB and Refugee Health Branch, San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency Jose Guadalupe Bustamante Morenom, Secretary of Health for the State of Baja California and General Director of the State Public Health Service Institute (ISESALUD) Gene Eng, vice president of government relations for Verizon's Western region.