HumanInsight Tuberculosis Treatment Compliance Under Smartphone-Based Video-Observed Therapy Versus Community-Based Directly Observed Therapy: Protocol for a Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial
JMIR Res Protoc. 2022 Jul 8;11(7):e38796. doi: 10.2196/38796.
BACKGROUND: The health care system in Thailand has struggled to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in decreased administration of community-based directly observed therapy (DOT) for tuberculosis (TB). As an alternative to failed DOT, video-observed therapy (VOT) or the Thai asynchronous VOT system, "TH VOT," was devised. We developed a protocol for a study to test the superiority of VOT over DOT in ensuring treatment compliance.
OBJECTIVE: We aim to compare the mean cumulative compliance days of TB patients and their observers under the VOT program with that of individuals under the DOT program during the intensive phase of TB treatment.
METHODS: A cluster randomized controlled trial of pulmonary TB patients and their observers will be conducted over a 2-month period. This study will be conducted in the Hat Yai and Meuang Songkhla districts of Songkhla Province, Southern Thailand. A total of 38 observers working at 38 primary care units (PCUs) will be randomized equally into VOT and DOT groups. The TH VOT system will be implemented in 19 PCUs in the VOT group while the other 19 PCUs will continue with the traditional DOT program. Approximately 1-5 TB patients will be under observation, depending on the PCU jurisdiction in which the patients reside. The inclusion criteria for TB patients will be as follows: patients diagnosed with newly active pulmonary TB with a positive acid-fast bacilli sputum smear, aged >18 years, own a smartphone, and are able to use the LINE (Line Corporation) app. The exclusion criteria will be patients with a condition that requires the intervention of a specialist, rifampicin resistance according to a cartridge-based nucleic acid amplification test (GeneXpert MTB/RIF), unable to continue the treatment, and/or alcohol dependence. After the 2-month observation period, all sessions and follow-up clinical outcomes recorded will be retrieved. An intention-to-treat analysis will be performed to assess the compliance of both patients undergoing drug administration and their observers.
RESULTS: The Human Research Ethics Committee, Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University approved the trial on February 19, 2021 (approval number 64-03618-9). The trial was funded in May 2021. The recruitment period will be from January 2022 to July 2022. The observation is scheduled to end by September 2022.
CONCLUSIONS: If the VOT shows superiority in observational compliance among patients and observers, the existing DOT policy will be replaced with VOT.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Thai Clinical Trials Registry TCTR20210624002; https://www.thaiclinicaltrials.org/show/TCTR20210624002.
INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID): DERR1-10.2196/38796.
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