Health Information Technology Tools Help Improve Care for Patients with HIV/AIDS

Using electronic decision support tools helps clinicians track the health of patients with HIV/AIDS and contributes to better compliance with recognized performance and quality measures.

Using electronic decision support tools helps clinicians track the health of patients with HIV/AIDS and contributes to better compliance with recognized performance and quality measures.

Study results show that use of a Web-based health information support system to monitor health status and track implementation of performance measures in patients with HIV/AIDS leads to improved quality of care.

The authors of “Electronic Health Information Technology as a Tool for Improving Quality of Care and Health Outcomes for HIV/AIDS Patients,” published in the International Journal of Health Informatics, studied “the interplay of health information technology (HIT), quality improvement and progression of health status” to determine whether “electronic exchange of health information impacts quality of care and, by extension, health outcomes of patients with HIV/AIDS.”

Researchers used eCOMPAS (Electronic Comprehensive Outcomes Measurement Program for Accountability & Success; referred to as e2), a “Web-based health information support system,” to monitor patient care in a clinical setting and to “facilitate rigorous quality improvement activities associated with the care and treatment of HIV/AIDS patients.” They followed the care of 263 HIV/AIDS medical patients at three HIV/AIDS medical clinics over three years.

They monitored patients and providers for implementation of five HIV/AIDS Bureau Performance Measures (four Group 1 measures and one Group 2 measure):

  • Percentage of clients with HIV infection who had 2 or more CD4 T-cell counts performed in the measurement year
  • Percentage of clients with AIDS who were prescribed HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy)
  • Percentage of clients with HIV infection who had two or more medical visits in an HIV care setting in the measurement year
  • Percentage of clients with HIV infection and a CD4 T-cell count below 200 cells/mm3 who were prescribed Pneumocystis jiroveci Pneumonia (PCP) prophylaxis
  • Percentage of adult clients with HIV infection who had a test for syphilis performed within the measurement year (a Group 2 measure)

For the study, patients’ CD4 T-cell count and viral load suppression indicators were also monitored as “health status indicators.” Researchers also assessed user satisfaction with e2 “as a quality improvement tool using qualitative methods.”

After analyzing the data, the researchers concluded that “availability of the e2 system was a leading contributing factor in successful quality management activities, leading to improved quality of care and health status of HIV/AIDS patients across all three clinics. Significant improvements were observed in three of the five quality indicators and in both of the two health status indicators.”

They wrote that using health information technology “as a tool for rigorous application of quality improvement methods can positively impact quality of care and health outcomes.” In this study of patient with HIV/AIDS, “health outcomes improved over time when quality improvement methods were initiated and facilitated by a responsive electronic information support system.”