Increasing Participation in a TelePrEP Program for Sexual and Gender Minority Adolescents and Young Adults in Louisiana: Protocol for an SMS Text Messaging-Based Chatbot

HumanInsight Increasing Participation in a TelePrEP Program for Sexual and Gender Minority Adolescents and Young Adults in Louisiana: Protocol for an SMS Text Messaging-Based Chatbot

JMIR Res Protoc. 2023 May 31;12:e42983. doi: 10.2196/42983.


BACKGROUND: Sexual and gender minority (SGM) adolescents and young adults (AYAs) are at increased risk of HIV infection, particularly in the Southern United States. Despite the availability of effective biomedical prevention strategies, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), access and uptake remain low among SGM AYAs. In response, the Louisiana Department of Health initiated the LA TelePrEP Program, which leverages the power of telemedicine to connect Louisiana residents to PrEP. A virtual TelePrEP Navigator guides users through the enrollment process, answers questions, schedules appointments, and facilitates lab testing and medication delivery. To increase the participation of SGM AYAs in the program, the TelePrEP program partnered with researchers to develop a chatbot that would facilitate access to the program and support navigator functions. Chatbots are capable of carrying out many functions that reduce employee workload, and despite their successful use in health care and public health, they are relatively new to HIV prevention.

OBJECTIVE: In this paper, we describe the iterative and community-engaged process that we used to develop an SMS text messaging-based chatbot tailored to SGM AYAs that would support navigator functions and disseminate PrEP-related information.

METHODS: Our process was comprised of 2 phases: conceptualization and development. In the conceptualization phase, aspects of navigator responsibilities, program logistics, and user interactions to prioritize in chatbot programming (eg, scheduling appointments and answering questions) were identified. We also selected a commercially available chatbot platform that could execute these functions and could be programmed with minimal coding experience. In the development phase, we engaged Department of Health staff and SGM AYAs within our professional and personal networks. Five different rounds of testing were conducted with various groups to evaluate each iteration of the chatbot. After each iteration of the testing process, the research team met to discuss feedback, guide the programmer on incorporating modifications, and re-evaluate the chatbot's functionality.

RESULTS: Through our highly collaborative and community-engaged process, a rule-based chatbot with artificial intelligence components was successfully created. We gained important knowledge that could advance future chatbot development efforts for HIV prevention. Key to the PrEPBot's success was resolving issues that hampered the user experience, like asking unnecessary questions, responding too quickly, and misunderstanding user input.

CONCLUSIONS: HIV prevention researchers can feasibly and efficiently program a rule-based chatbot with the assistance of commercially available tools. Our iterative process of engaging researchers, program personnel, and different subgroups of SGM AYAs to obtain input was key to successful chatbot development. If the results of this pilot trial show that the chatbot is feasible and acceptable to SGM AYAs, future HIV researchers and practitioners could consider incorporating chatbots as part of their programs.


PMID:37256669 | DOI:10.2196/42983

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A Smart System for Remote Monitoring of Patients in Palliative Care (HumanITcare Platform): Mixed Methods Study

HumanInsight A Smart System for Remote Monitoring of Patients in Palliative Care (HumanITcare Platform): Mixed Methods Study

JMIR Form Res. 2023 May 31;7:e45654. doi: 10.2196/45654.


BACKGROUND: Due to the complexities of advanced illnesses and their treatments, it can be difficult for patients in palliative care to maintain their quality of life. Telemedicine interventions in chronic disease management engage patients in their care, provide continuous follow-up by their health care providers, identify symptoms earlier, and allow a quick response to illness-related decline.

OBJECTIVE: We aimed to detail and reflect on the design of an app and evaluate its feasibility to monitor the clinical situation of patients with advanced illnesses.

METHODS: This study used a mixed methods design using qualitative methods to inform app development and design and quantitative methods for data collection and analysis of patient evaluations. Palliative care units in 2 Spanish university hospitals (Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria in Santa Cruz de Tenerife and University Hospital Complex of Ferrol in A Coruña) carried out a literature review, designed the study protocol, and obtained approval from the Ethics Committee from June to December 2020. In addition, focus group meetings were held, and the design and technical development of the app were elaborated on and subsequently presented in the participating palliative care units. From January to March 2021, the app was made public on the App Store and Play Store, and a pilot study with patients was carried out in April to September 2021.

RESULTS: Six focus group meetings were held that included doctors, nurses, app developers, technology consultants, and sponsors. In addition, the technology consultants presented their results 3 times in the participating palliative care units to obtain feedback. After the app's final design, it was possible to publish it on the usual servers and begin its evaluation in patients (n=60, median age 72 years). Sixty percent (n=36) of the participants were women and 40% (n=24) were men. The most prevalent advanced pathology was cancer (n=46, 76%), followed by other diseases (n=7, 12%) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (n=5, 8%). Seventy percent (n=42) of the patients were already in follow-up prior to the start of the study, while 30% (n=18) were included at the start of their follow-up. The information in the app was collected and entered by relatives or caregivers in 60% (n=36) of the cases. The median follow-up was 52 (IQR 14-104) days. In all, 69% (n=41) had a follow-up >30 days (10 were deceased and 9 were missing data). The use of the different sections of the app ranged from 37% (n=22) for the glycemic record to 90% (n=54) for the constipation scale). Patients and caregivers were delighted with its ease of use and usefulness.

CONCLUSIONS: Incorporating an intelligent remote patient monitoring system in clinical practice for patients in palliative care can improve access to health services and provide more information to professionals.

PMID:37256664 | DOI:10.2196/45654

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Patterns of acceptance and use of digital health services among the persistent frequent attenders of outpatient care: A qualitatively driven multimethod analysis

HumanInsight Patterns of acceptance and use of digital health services among the persistent frequent attenders of outpatient care: A qualitatively driven multimethod analysis

Digit Health. 2023 May 25;9:20552076231178422. doi: 10.1177/20552076231178422. eCollection 2023 Jan-Dec.


OBJECTIVE: Utilising digital health services in the treatment of patients who frequently attend outpatient care could be beneficial for patients' health and the sustainability of health systems but carries the risk of digital exclusion. This study aimed to explore the patterns of acceptance and use of digital health services among frequent attenders (FAs), which may help in the assessment of patients' digital suitability.

METHODS: Persistent FAs (N = 30) were recruited by random sampling from one Finnish municipality. The semistructured interviews were conducted in February-May 2021. We analysed the data with qualitative content analysis using the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) model. Additionally, we quantified the data for two-step cluster analyses to create separate cluster models that grouped FAs based on acceptance and use of (a) digital services for self-management of health and (b) telemedicine services.

RESULTS: Based on digital self-management, FAs were defined as Self-Managers, Supported Self-Managers, and Non-Self-Managers. Based on telemedicine use, they were grouped into Telemedicine Users, Doubtful Telemedicine Users, and Telemedicine Refusers. The clusters described different opportunities, awareness, and interest in using digital health services. Referral from professionals seemed to promote digital service use. For some, digital services were not accessible.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings emphasise the importance of assessing the suitability of FAs to digital health services, as their readiness to use may vary. Professionals should recommend digital services that support individual health to suitable patients. More accessible digital services could promote digital suitability despite functional limitations.

PMID:37256014 | PMC:PMC10226178 | DOI:10.1177/20552076231178422

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The "Lazio ADVICE" telemedicine platform: First results of general practitioners' usage, facilitators and barriers in the Local Health Authority Roma 1


The "Lazio ADVICE" telemedicine platform: First results of general practitioners' usage, facilitators and barriers in the Local Health Authority Roma 1

Digit Health. 2023 May 24;9:20552076231174099. doi: 10.1177/20552076231174099. eCollection 2023 Jan-Dec.


BACKGROUND: Telemedical approaches represent a valuable tool for the management of coronavirus disease 2019 patients, allowing daily clinical assessment, monitoring of vital parameters, remote visits, and prescription of treatment or hospitalization in case of clinical worsening. This cross-sectional study aims to evaluate the use, barriers and facilitators of the "Lazio ADVICE" telemedical platform, a regional system for remote assistance for coronavirus disease 2019 patients at home, according to General Practitioners and Family Pediatricians of the Local Health Authority Roma 1, during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

METHODS: An interview-based survey was performed between December 2020 and January 2021. The survey investigated the demographic information of General Practitioner and Family Pediatricians, the knowledge of the platform, frequency of utilization, usefulness, strengths and weaknesses, and hypothesis of future implementation proposed.

RESULTS: We interviewed 214 physicians and 89 (41.6%) were classified as users and 125 (58.4%) as non-users. Older age and working in District 1, 14 and 15 (vs. District 13) significantly reduced the probability of using the platform physician. Among the 89 users, 19 (21.3%) used the platform every day or even several times a day, 40 (44.9%) several times a week but less than one access per day, 30 (33.7%) used the platform several times a month up to one entry per week. Most of them (92.3%) consider the platform useful. Barriers were poor integration with software and work routine (76.4%), and usability issues (53.9%). Among the 125 non-users, 14 (11.2%) didn't know the existence of the platform, 60 (48.0%) never tried it and 51 (40.8%) tried to use it. Reported reasons for the interruption of use were not very user-friendly (45.1%), perceived useless (37.3%), non-optimal functioning (23.5%), and lack of time (19.6%).

CONCLUSION: The pandemic accelerated the implementation of telemedicine services around Lazio Region, starting a positive and continuous exchange of experiences, activities and best practices among physicians.

PMID:37256007 | PMC:PMC10226167 | DOI:10.1177/20552076231174099

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The Use of Telemedicine in the Preoperative Care of Pheochromocytoma: A Systematic Review

HumanInsight The Use of Telemedicine in the Preoperative Care of Pheochromocytoma: A Systematic Review

Cureus. 2023 Apr 29;15(4):e38290. doi: 10.7759/cureus.38290. eCollection 2023 Apr.


Pheochromocytoma (PCC) is a neuroendocrine tumor that may present with headaches, palpitations, and hypertension, and if left unresected, it can lead to serious complications and fatal cardiac mortality. Adequate preoperative management can decrease the risk of intraoperative complications. In this systematic review, we address and discuss what has been published in the literature about the optimization of pheochromocytoma preoperative care via various types of telemedicine (TM). We searched health research databases PubMed, Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online (MEDLINE), the Cochrane Library, and Google Scholar for literature on various types of TM employed for PCC preoperative management. We searched peer-reviewed literature in the English language published in the literature until November 5, 2022, using medical subject heading (MeSh) terms in PubMed like "telemedicine" and "pheochromocytoma." We used "telemedicine" or "telehealth" and "pheochromocytoma" in other databases. We considered all types of TM, including synchronous, asynchronous, and remote patient monitoring. Our search yielded five publications in PubMed, 59 results in Google Scholar, and none in the Cochrane Library. After excluding duplicates and evaluating the articles for relevance, five papers were selected for this review. Studies came from the United States and Italy. Findings from these studies suggested safe outcomes and reduced costs compared to what is traditionally followed in physical settings. Overall, this systematic review shows the convenience and safety of TM use for a broad spectrum of patients. Further studies are needed to consolidate these findings. Moreover, guidelines on patients' selection and procedures for safe and effective TM care for patients with PCC are required.

PMID:37255909 | PMC:PMC10226390 | DOI:10.7759/cureus.38290

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Telemedicine consultation for emergency patients' attention: a clinical experience from a high complex university hospital from Latin America


Telemedicine consultation for emergency patients' attention: a clinical experience from a high complex university hospital from Latin America

BMC Health Serv Res. 2023 May 30;23(1):559. doi: 10.1186/s12913-023-09520-6.


INTRODUCTION: As a result of the new coronavirus pandemic, a highly complex academic hospital in Latin America implemented a telemedicine service for the care of obstetric, pediatric, and adult patients. In 2020, regional emergency services collapsed due to the increase in demand for care, generating the need to open expansion services and seek strategies to provide timely care to consulting patients.

OBJECTIVE: We retrospectively describe the clinical experience of patients who consulted the emergency department via telemedicine across a videoconference tool using digital platforms.

METHODS: A descriptive study with retrospective data collection was conducted to describe the implementation of the teleconsultation care model for patients. We constructed the clinical process indicators to evaluate the model.

RESULTS: A total of 4652 teleconsultations were registered. Telemedicine consultation was above 50% in the country and department and above 90% in Cali city. The average waiting time for care was estimated to be 1:59:52 h. A total of 275 patients were transferred to the emergency room after consultation. The principal reasons for consultation in the institutional telemedicine program were respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms. Teleconsultations related to SARS-COV 2 infections reported 3775 patients (3127 with unidentified virus and 648 with the identified virus).

CONCLUSIONS: Telemedicine is a tool that provides support and guidance to patients who consult emergency departments, reducing barriers to access health care and decreasing emergency department collapse.

PMID:37254117 | DOI:10.1186/s12913-023-09520-6

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Utilization of Telemedicine among Medicare beneficiaries undergoing Hepatopancreatic Surgery during the COVID-19 Pandemic

HumanInsight Utilization of Telemedicine among Medicare beneficiaries undergoing Hepatopancreatic Surgery during the COVID-19 Pandemic

J Gastrointest Surg. 2023 May 30. doi: 10.1007/s11605-023-05711-y. Online ahead of print.


INTRODUCTION: Telemedicine may serve as an important avenue to address disparities in access to cancer care. We sought to define factors associated with telemedicine use among Medicare beneficiaries who underwent hepatopancreatic (HP) surgery, as well as characterize trends in telemedicine usage relative to community vulnerability based on the enactment of the Medicare telemedicine coverage waiver.

METHODS: Patients who underwent HP surgery between 2013-2020 were identified from the Medicare Standard Analytic Files (SAF). Telemedicine utilization was assessed pre- versus post- implementation of the Medicare telemedicine coverage waiver; the county-level social vulnerability index (SVI) was obtained from the Center for Disease Control. Interrupted time series analysis with negative binomial and multivariable logistic regression methods were used to assess changes in telemedicine utilization after the implementation of the Medicare telemedicine coverage waiver relative to SVI.

RESULTS: Pre-waiver telemedicine visits were scarce among 16,690 patients (0.2%, n = 28), while post-waiver telemedicine adoption was substantial among 3,301 patients (45.8%, n = 1,388). Post-waiver, the median patient age was 70 years (IQR, 66-74) with the majority of patients being age 65-69 (n = 994, 32.8%); 1,599 (52.8%) were female. Most patients self-identified as White (n = 2641, 87.1%), while a minority of patients self-identified as Black (n = 190, 6.3%), Asian (n = 18, 0.6%), Hispanic (n = 35, 1.2%), or Other/unknown (n = 147, 4.9%). On multivariable regression analysis, patients who lived in highly vulnerable counties (referent Low SVI; moderate SVI: OR 1.09, 95% CI 0.86-1.39, p = 0.449; high SVI: OR 0.72, 95% CI 0.55-0.94, p = 0.001) and individuals with advancing age (referent 18-64; 65-69, OR 0.68, 95%CI 0.54-0.86; 70-74, OR 0.56, 95%CI 0.44-0.71; 75-79, OR 0.57, 95%CI 0.44-0.75; 80-84, OR 0.43, 95%CI 0.30-0.61; 85 + , OR 0.25, 95%CI 0.13-0.49) had lower odds of utilizing telemedicine. In contrast, Black patients (referent White; OR 2.26, 95% CI 1.65-3.10) and patients with a higher CCI score > 2 (referent ≤ 2; OR 1.49, 95% CI 1.28-1.71) were more likely to use telemedicine (all p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Medicare beneficiaries residing in counties with extreme vulnerability, as well as elderly individuals, were markedly less likely to use telemedicine services related to HP surgical episodes of care. The lower utilization of telemedicine in areas of high social vulnerability was attributable to concomitant lower rates of internet access in these areas.

PMID:37254021 | DOI:10.1007/s11605-023-05711-y

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Impact of a Psychiatric Consultation Program on COVID-19 Patients: An Experimental Study

HumanInsight Impact of a Psychiatric Consultation Program on COVID-19 Patients: An Experimental Study

Psychiatry Investig. 2023 May;20(5):471-480. doi: 10.30773/pi.2022.0295. Epub 2023 May 25.


OBJECTIVE: Following the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, the importance of addressing acute stress induced by psychological burdens of diseases became apparent. This study attempted to evaluate the effectiveness of a new mode of psychiatric intervention designed to target similar psychological crises.

METHODS: Participants included 32 out of 114 COVID inpatients at a hospital in Daegu, Korea, who were assessed between March 30 and April 7, 2020. Multiple scales for screening psychological difficulties such as depressed mood, anxiety, insomnia, acute stress, and suicidality were done. Psychological problem evaluations and interventions were conducted in the form of consultations to alleviate participants' psychological challenges via telepsychiatry. The interventions' effects, as well as clinical improvements before and after the intervention, were analyzed.

RESULTS: As a result of screening, 21 patients were experiencing psychological difficulties beyond clinical thresholds after COVID-19 infection (screening positive group). The remaining 11 were screening negative groups. The two groups differed significantly in past psychiatric histories (p=0.034), with the former having a higher number of diagnoses. The effect of the intervention was analyzed, and clinical improvement before and after the intervention was observed. Our intervention was found to be effective in reducing the overall emotional difficulties.

CONCLUSION: This study highlighted the usefulness of new interventions required in the context of healthcare following the COVID-19 pandemic.

PMID:37253473 | DOI:10.30773/pi.2022.0295

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Telehealth as a Tool to Transform Pediatric Care: Views from Stakeholders

HumanInsight Telehealth as a Tool to Transform Pediatric Care: Views from Stakeholders

Telemed J E Health. 2023 May 26. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2022.0496. Online ahead of print.


Background and Objectives: The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic generated rapid telehealth expansion. Most prior telehealth studies focus on a single program or health condition, leaving a knowledge gap regarding the most appropriate and effective means of allocating telehealth services and funding. This research seeks to evaluate a wide range of perspectives to inform pediatric telehealth policy and practice. Methods: In 2017, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (Innovation Center) issued a Request for Information to inform the Integrated Care for Kids model. Researchers identified 55 of 186 responses that addressed telehealth and analyzed them based on grounded theory principles overlaid with a constructivist approach to contextualize Medicaid policies, respondent characteristics, and implications for specific populations. Results: Respondents noted several health equity issues that telehealth could help to remedy, including timely care access, specialist shortages, transportation and distance barriers, provider-to-provider communication, and patient and family engagement. Implementation barriers reported by commenters included reimbursement restrictions, licensure issues, and costs of initial infrastructure. Respondents raised savings, care integration, accountability, and increased access to care as potential benefits. Discussion and Conclusions: The pandemic demonstrated that the health system can implement telehealth rapidly, although telehealth cannot be used to provide every aspect of pediatric care such as vaccinations. Respondents highlighted the promise of telehealth, which is heightened if telehealth supports health care transformation rather than replicating how in-office care is currently provided. Telehealth also offers the potential to increase health equity for some populations of pediatric patients.

PMID:37252789 | DOI:10.1089/tmj.2022.0496

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Scaling and Sustaining Facilitated Telemedicine to Expand Treatment Access Among Underserved Populations: A Qualitative Study

HumanInsight Scaling and Sustaining Facilitated Telemedicine to Expand Treatment Access Among Underserved Populations: A Qualitative Study

Telemed J E Health. 2023 May 26. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2022.0534. Online ahead of print.


Background: Opioid treatment programs are an essential component of the management of opioid use disorder (OUD). They have also been proposed as "medical homes" to expand health care access for underserved populations. We utilized telemedicine as a method to increase access for hepatitis C virus (HCV) care among people with OUD. Methods: We interviewed 30 staff and 15 administrators regarding the integration of facilitated telemedicine for HCV into opioid treatment programs. Participants provided feedback and insight for sustaining and scaling facilitated telemedicine for people with OUD. We utilized hermeneutic phenomenology to develop themes related to telemedicine sustainability in opioid treatment programs. Results: Three themes emerged on sustaining the facilitated telemedicine model: (1) Telemedicine as a Technical Innovation in Opioid Treatment Programs, (2) Technology Transcending Space and Time, and (3) COVID-19 Disrupting the Status Quo. Participants identified skilled staff, ongoing training, technology infrastructure and support, and an effective marketing campaign as key to maintaining the facilitated telemedicine model. Participants highlighted the study-supported case manager's role in managing the technology to transcend temporal and geographical challenges for HCV treatment access for people with OUD. COVID-19 fueled changes in health care delivery, including facilitated telemedicine, to expand the opioid treatment program's mission as a medical home for people with OUD. Conclusions: Opioid treatment programs can sustain facilitated telemedicine to increase health care access for underserved populations. COVID-19-induced disruptions promoted innovation and policy changes recognizing telemedicine's role in expanding health care access to underserved populations. Identifier: NCT02933970.

PMID:37252770 | DOI:10.1089/tmj.2022.0534

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