Special Issue "Implementation and Scale Up Point of Care (POC) Diagnostics in Resource-Limited Settings"

A special issue of Diagnostics (ISSN 2075-4418). This special issue belongs to the section "Point-of-Care Diagnostics and Devices".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Tivani P Mashamba-Thompson
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Public Health Medicine, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, 4001 Durban, South Africa
Interests: diagnostics; point of care testing; implementation; scale up; evaluation
Dr. Paul K. Drain
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Departments of Global Health, Medicine (Infectious Diseases), and Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, USA. Mailing Address: 325 Ninth Ave, UW Box 359927, Seattle, WA 98104, USA
Interests: HIV/AIDS; tuberculosis; point-of-care diagnostics; point-of-care testing; implementation science; global health; resource-limited settings
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Implementating, scaling up and sustaining health interventions is a challenge in practical contexts. The advent of POC diagnostics in resource-limited settings has the potential to improve health outcomes, particularly in disease-burdened countries. Despite recent investment in global health diagnostics, the potential for POC diagnostics to generate value for patients and health systems has not been met across all settings, particularly in low-and middle-income countries where disease burden is high and diagnosis remains a weak point in the health care cascade. Scale up and implementation of new of POC diagnostics in these setting is a global health priority to enable the adoption of new evidence-based POC diagnostics and to replicate and extend the reach of POC diagnostics. Global private and public sector agencies have significantly increased their investment in the development of POC diagnostics to meet the unmet needs of patients in resource-limited settings. However, previous research has demonstrated that the availability of health technologies in these settings does not always guarantee patient-centred outcomes.

The applicability, effectiveness and sustainability of diagnostic technologies is affected by the involvement of all stakeholders during planning and implementation, which must be relevant to each specific context and sensitive to local culture. Factors such as infrastructure, resources, values and characteristics of participants can influence the implementation, scalability and sustainability of health interventions such as POC diagnostics. This Special Issue Implementation and Scale up Point of Care (POC) Diagnostics in Resource-Limited Settings” will include literature reviews and primary research studies focusing on the implementation and scale up of POC diagnostics in resource-limited settings.

Dr. Tivani P. Mashamba-Thompson
Dr. Paul K. Drain
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Diagnostics is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • point of care
  • diagnostics
  • implementation
  • scale up

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Implementing Antenatal Syphilis Point-of-Care Testing on Maternal Mortality in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: An Interrupted Time Series Analysis
Diagnostics 2019, 9(4), 218; https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics9040218 - 10 Dec 2019
Abstract
Background: Syphilis infection has been associated with an increased risk of HIV infection during pregnancy which poses greater risk for maternal mortality, and antenatal syphilis point-of-care (POC) testing has been introduced to improve maternal and child health outcomes. There is limited evidence on [...] Read more.
Background: Syphilis infection has been associated with an increased risk of HIV infection during pregnancy which poses greater risk for maternal mortality, and antenatal syphilis point-of-care (POC) testing has been introduced to improve maternal and child health outcomes. There is limited evidence on the impact of syphilis POC testing on maternal outcomes in high HIV prevalent settings. We used syphilis POC testing as a model to evaluate the impact of POC diagnostics on the improvement of maternal mortality in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Methods: We extracted 132 monthly data points on the number of maternal deaths in facilities and number of live births in facilities for 12 tertiary healthcare facilities in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa from 2004 to 2014 from District Health Information System (DHIS) health facility archived. We employed segmented Poisson regression analysis of interrupted time series to assess the impact of the exposure on maternal mortality ratio (MMR) before and after the implementation of antenatal syphilis POC testing. We processed and analyzed data using Stata Statistical Software: Release 13. (Stata, Corp LP, College Station, TX, USA). Results: The provincial average annual maternal mortality ratio (MMR) was estimated at 176.09 ± 43.92 ranging from a minimum of 68.48 to maximum of 225.49 per 100,000 live births. The data comprised 36 temporal points before the introduction of syphilis POC test exposure and 84 after the introduction in primary health care clinics in KZN. The average annual MMR for KZN from 2004 to 2014 was estimated at 176.09 ± 43.92. A decrease in MMR level was observed during 2008 after syphilis POC test implementation, followed by a rise during 2009. Analysis of the MMR trend estimates a significant 1.5% increase in MMR trends during the period before implementation and 1.3% increase after implementation of syphilis POC testing (p < 0.001). Conclusion: Although our finding suggests a brief reduction in the MMR trend after the implementation of antenatal syphilis POC testing, a continued increase in syphilis rates is seen in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The study used one of the most powerful quasi-experimental research methods, segmented Poisson regression analysis of interrupted time series to model the impact of syphilis POC on maternal outcome. The study finding requires confirmation by use of more rigorous primary study design. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Feasibility Evaluation of Commercially Available Video Conferencing Devices to Technically Direct Untrained Nonmedical Personnel to Perform a Rapid Trauma Ultrasound Examination
Diagnostics 2019, 9(4), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics9040188 - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
Introduction: Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is a rapidly expanding discipline that has proven to be a valuable modality in the hospital setting. Recent evidence has demonstrated the utility of commercially available video conferencing technologies, namely, FaceTime (Apple Inc, Cupertino, CA, USA) and Google Glass [...] Read more.
Introduction: Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is a rapidly expanding discipline that has proven to be a valuable modality in the hospital setting. Recent evidence has demonstrated the utility of commercially available video conferencing technologies, namely, FaceTime (Apple Inc, Cupertino, CA, USA) and Google Glass (Google Inc, Mountain View, CA, USA), to allow an expert POCUS examiner to remotely guide a novice medical professional. However, few studies have evaluated the ability to use these teleultrasound technologies to guide a nonmedical novice to perform an acute care POCUS examination for cardiac, pulmonary, and abdominal assessments. Additionally, few studies have shown the ability of a POCUS-trained cardiac anesthesiologist to perform the role of an expert instructor. This study sought to evaluate the ability of a POCUS-trained anesthesiologist to remotely guide a nonmedically trained participant to perform an acute care POCUS examination. Methods: A total of 21 nonmedically trained undergraduate students who had no prior ultrasound experience were recruited to perform a three-part ultrasound examination on a standardized patient with the guidance of a remote expert who was a POCUS-trained cardiac anesthesiologist. The examination included the following acute care POCUS topics: (1) cardiac function via parasternal long/short axis views, (2) pneumothorax assessment via pleural sliding exam via anterior lung views, and (3) abdominal free fluid exam via right upper quadrant abdominal view. Each examiner was given a handout with static images of probe placement and actual ultrasound images for the three views. After a brief 8 min tutorial on the teleultrasound technologies, a connection was established with the expert, and they were guided through the acute care POCUS exam. Each view was deemed to be complete when the expert sonographer was satisfied with the obtained image or if the expert sonographer determined that the image could not be obtained after 5 min. Image quality was scored on a previously validated 0 to 4 grading scale. The entire session was recorded, and the image quality was scored during the exam by the remote expert instructor as well as by a separate POCUS-trained, blinded expert anesthesiologist. Results: A total of 21 subjects completed the study. The average total time for the exam was 8.5 min (standard deviation = 4.6). A comparison between the live expert examiner and the blinded postexam reviewer showed a 100% agreement between image interpretations. A review of the exams rated as three or higher demonstrated that 87% of abdominal, 90% of cardiac, and 95% of pulmonary exams achieved this level of image quality. A satisfaction survey of the novice users demonstrated higher ease of following commands for the cardiac and pulmonary exams compared to the abdominal exam. Conclusions: The results from this pilot study demonstrate that nonmedically trained individuals can be guided to complete a relevant ultrasound examination within a short period. Further evaluation of using telemedicine technologies to promote POCUS should be evaluated. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Estimating the Spatial Accessibility to Blood Group and Rhesus Type Point-of-Care Testing for Maternal Healthcare in Ghana
Diagnostics 2019, 9(4), 175; https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics9040175 - 05 Nov 2019
Abstract
Background: In Ghana, a blood group and rhesus type test is one of the essential recommended screening tests for women during antenatal care since blood transfusion is a key intervention for haemorrhage. We estimated the spatial accessibility to health facilities for blood group [...] Read more.
Background: In Ghana, a blood group and rhesus type test is one of the essential recommended screening tests for women during antenatal care since blood transfusion is a key intervention for haemorrhage. We estimated the spatial accessibility to health facilities for blood group and type point-of-care (POC) testing in the Upper East Region (UER), Ghana. Methods: We assembled the attributes and spatial data of hospitals, clinics, and medical laboratories providing blood group and rhesus type POC testing in the UER. We also obtained the spatial data of all the 131 towns, and 94 health centres and community-based health planning and services (CHPS) compounds providing maternal healthcare in the region. We further obtained the topographical data of the region, and travel time estimated using an assumed tricycle speed of 20 km/h. We employed ArcGIS 10.5 to estimate the distance and travel time and locations with poor spatial access identified for priority improvement. Findings: In all, blood group and rhesus type POC testing was available in 18 health facilities comprising eight public hospitals and six health centres, one private hospital, and three medical laboratories used as referral points by neighbouring health centres and CHPS compounds without the service. Of the 94 health centres and CHPS compounds, 51.1% (48/94) and 66.4% (87/131) of the towns were within a 10 km range to a facility providing blood group and rhesus type testing service. The estimated mean distance to a health facility for blood group and rhesus POC testing was 8.9 ± 4.1 km, whilst the mean travel time was 17.8 ± 8.3 min. Builsa South district recorded the longest mean distance (25.6 ± 7.4 km), whilst Bongo district recorded the shortest (3.1 ± 1.9 km). The spatial autocorrelation results showed the health facilities providing blood group and rhesus type POC testing were randomly distributed in the region (Moran Index = 0.29; z-score = 1.37; p = 0.17). Conclusion: This study enabled the identification of district variations in spatial accessibility to blood group and rhesus type POC testing in the region for policy decisions. We urge the health authorities in Ghana to evaluate and implement recommended POC tests such as slide agglutination tests for blood group and rhesus type testing in resource-limited settings. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Stakeholder Perceptions of Point-of-Care Ultrasound Implementation in Resource-Limited Settings
Diagnostics 2019, 9(4), 153; https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics9040153 - 18 Oct 2019
Abstract
Background: Nearly half of the world lacks access to diagnostic imaging. Point of care ultrasound (POCUS) is a versatile and relatively affordable imaging modality that offers promise as a means of bridging the radiology gap and improving care in low resource settings. Methods: [...] Read more.
Background: Nearly half of the world lacks access to diagnostic imaging. Point of care ultrasound (POCUS) is a versatile and relatively affordable imaging modality that offers promise as a means of bridging the radiology gap and improving care in low resource settings. Methods: We performed semi-structured interviews of key stakeholders at two diverse hospitals where POCUS implementation programs had recently been conducted: one in a rural private hospital in Haiti and the other in a public referral hospital in Malawi. Questions regarding the clinical utility of POCUS, as well as barriers and facilitators of its implementation, were asked of study participants. Using the Framework Method, analysis of interview transcripts was guided by the WHO ASSURED criteria for point of care diagnostics. Results: Fifteen stakeholders with diverse roles in POCUS implementation were interviewed. Interviewees from both sites considered POCUS a valuable diagnostic tool that improved clinical decisions. They perceived barriers to adequate training as one of the most important remaining barriers to POCUS implementation. Conclusions: In spite of the increasing affordability and portability of ultrasounds devices, there are still important barriers to the implementation of POCUS in resource-limited settings. Full article

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Open AccessCase Report
Use of a Smartphone-Based Augmented Reality Video Conference App to Remotely Guide a Point of Care Ultrasound Examination
Diagnostics 2019, 9(4), 159; https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics9040159 - 24 Oct 2019
Abstract
Reports on the use of various smartphone-based video conference applications to guide point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) examinations in resource-limited settings have been described. However, the use of an augmented reality-enabled smartphone video conference application in this same manner has not been described. Presented is [...] Read more.
Reports on the use of various smartphone-based video conference applications to guide point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) examinations in resource-limited settings have been described. However, the use of an augmented reality-enabled smartphone video conference application in this same manner has not been described. Presented is a case in which such as application was used to remotely guide a point of care ultrasound examination. Full article
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