Directly observed therapy to measure adherence to tuberculosis medication in observational research: Protocol for a prospective cohort study
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Background: A major challenge for prospective, clinical tuberculosis (TB) research is accurately defining a metric for measuring medication adherence. Objective: We aimed to design a method to capture directly observed therapy (DOT) via mobile health carried out by community workers. The program was created specifically to measure TB medication adherence for a prospective TB cohort in Western Cape Province, South Africa.
Methods: Community workers collect daily adherence data on mobile smartphones. Participant-level adherence, program-level adherence, and program function are systematically monitored to assess DOT program implementation. A data dashboard allows for regular visualization of indicators. Numerous design elements aim to prevent or limit data falsification and ensure study data integrity.
Results: The cohort study is ongoing and data collection is in progress. Enrollment began on May 16, 2017, and as of January 12, 2021, a total of 236 participants were enrolled. Adherence data will be used to analyze the study’s primary aims and to investigate adherence as a primary outcome.
Conclusions: The DOT program includes a mobile health application for data collection as well as a monitoring framework and dashboard. This approach has potential to be adapted for other settings to improve the capture of medication adherence in clinical TB research.
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