www.ilabsoutheastasia.org/technologies/sms-appointment-reminder/

SMS Appointment Reminder

The SMS Appointment Reminder System enables home-based care workers to track and remind HIV/AIDS patients to attend appointments, reducing the number who drop out of treatment.

The challenge:

More than 33.3 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, including 17 million women and 2.5 million children. While the numbers accessing antiretroviral treatment have steadily increased over time in Cambodia, there is still significant concern over failures to keep patients in care over the long run. 

 

People living with HIV/AIDS are balancing social, financial, and medical needs while keeping strict adherence to increasingly complex lifetime medical regimens. Far too many people who test positive for HIV fall through the healthcare system cracks and don’t receive the proper care needed to treat their disease over the long run. There are many reasons why this happens, such as social stigmas, significant time lapses between doctor visits, complications of other conditions, and an over loaded healthcare system.  These patients are referred to as ‘lost to follow-up’.

 

The consequence of patients not on antiretroviral therapy are huge and can lead to a significantly shortened lifespan.  At a program level, ‘lost to follow-up’ makes it difficult to evaluate outcomes of treatment and care in order to determine the best way to combat the disease. 

 

The tool:

In order to reduce the ‘lost to follow-up’ phenomenon,  and improve the efficacy of the NCHADS’ home based care (HBC) teams, we created the SMS Appointment Reminder System to enable home-based care workers to track and remind HIV/AIDS patients to attend appointments, reducing the number who drop out of treatment. 

 

This system integrates our mobile tools with pre-existing patient databases, involved extensive field design to find an intersection of effectiveness, data privacy, and usability. The tool allowed for users to filter and display appointments based on the appointment date, which was seamlessly integrated with NCHADS’ database system, OI/ART.   The user is able to use the system to send a SMS to the Home Based Care Teams for the selected appointment, track confirmed appointment, and resend appointment when necessary.