ResearchPad - quality-assurance https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Process evaluation of health system costing – Experience from CHSI study in India]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14482 A national study, ‘Costing of healthcare services in India’ (CHSI) aimed at generating reliable healthcare cost estimates for health technology assessment and price-setting is being undertaken in India. CHSI sampled 52 public and 40 private hospitals in 13 states and used a mixed micro-costing approach. This paper aims to outline the process, challenges and critical lessons of cost data collection to feed methodological and quality improvement of data collection.MethodsAn exploratory survey with 3 components–an online semi-structured questionnaire, group discussion and review of monitoring data, was conducted amongst CHSI data collection teams. There were qualitative and quantitative components. Difficulty in obtaining individual data was rated on a Likert scale.ResultsMean time taken to complete cost data collection in one department/speciality was 7.86(±0.51) months, majority of which was spent on data entry and data issues resolution. Data collection was most difficult for determination of equipment usage (mean difficulty score 6.59±0.52), consumables prices (6.09±0.58), equipment price(6.05±0.72), and furniture price(5.64±0.68). Human resources, drugs & consumables contributed to 78% of total cost and 31% of data collection time. However, furniture, overheads and equipment consumed 51% of time contributing only 9% of total cost. Seeking multiple permissions, absence of electronic records, multiple sources of data were key challenges causing delays.ConclusionsMicro-costing is time and resource intensive. Addressing key issues prior to data collection would ease the process of data collection, improve quality of estimates and aid priority setting. Electronic health records and availability of national cost data base would facilitate conducting costing studies. ]]> <![CDATA[Highly efficient and sensitive patient-specific quality assurance for spot-scanned proton therapy]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6f1505d5eed0c48467acb1

The purpose of this work was to develop an end-to-end patient-specific quality assurance (QA) technique for spot-scanned proton therapy that is more sensitive and efficient than traditional approaches. The patient-specific methodology relies on independently verifying the accuracy of the delivered proton fluence and the dose calculation in the heterogeneous patient volume. A Monte Carlo dose calculation engine, which was developed in-house, recalculates a planned dose distribution on the patient CT data set to verify the dose distribution represented by the treatment planning system. The plan is then delivered in a pre-treatment setting and logs of spot position and dose monitors, which are integrated into the treatment nozzle, are recorded. A computational routine compares the delivery log to the DICOM spot map used by the Monte Carlo calculation to ensure that the delivered parameters at the machine match the calculated plan. Measurements of dose planes using independent detector arrays, which historically are the standard approach to patient-specific QA, are not performed for every patient. The nozzle-integrated detectors are rigorously validated using independent detectors in regular QA intervals. The measured data are compared to the expected delivery patterns. The dose monitor reading deviations are reported in a histogram, while the spot position discrepancies are plotted vs. spot number to facilitate independent analysis of both random and systematic deviations. Action thresholds are linked to accuracy of the commissioned delivery system. Even when plan delivery is acceptable, the Monte Carlo second check system has identified dose calculation issues which would not have been illuminated using traditional, phantom-based measurement techniques. The efficiency and sensitivity of our patient-specific QA program has been improved by implementing a procedure which independently verifies patient dose calculation accuracy and plan delivery fidelity. Such an approach to QA requires holistic integration and maintenance of patient-specific and patient-independent QA.

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<![CDATA[European Federation of Societies for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (EFSUMB) Policy Document Development Strategy – Clinical Practice Guidelines, Position Statements and Technological Reviews]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c354b7dd5eed0c484dc61a2

This document summarizes principles and methodology to guide the creation of Clinical Practice Guidelines, Position Statements und Technological Reviews of the European Federation of Societies for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (EFSUMB). The purpose of EFSUMB Clinical Practice Guidelines is to provide physicians and sonographers performing or requesting diagnostic and interventional ultrasound examinations with evidence-based recommendations. Position Statements summarize EFSUMB opinions on important current issues in clinical applications, education and training of ultrasound techniques or health care policy related to ultrasound-based imaging and ultrasound-guided interventions. The third type of EFSUMB policy document is the Technological Review, which describes ultrasound techniques and technologies for physicians, medical technicians, engineers and physicists developing ultrasound technology. The whole process of development of EFSUMB policy documents is explained beginning with the decision regarding topics, selection of authors, funding, and planning of the developmental process. Further steps described in this document are the review of the evidence, creation of recommendations, statements and comments, grading of level of evidence and strength of recommendations, and consensus process. Finally, rules for the creation, review, approval, publication and update of EFSUMB policy documents are described.

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<![CDATA[Diagnosis of Persistent Fever in the Tropics: Set of Standard Operating Procedures Used in the NIDIAG Febrile Syndrome Study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da41ab0ee8fa60b8a2f5

In resource-limited settings, the scarcity of skilled personnel and adequate laboratory facilities makes the differential diagnosis of fevers complex [15]. Febrile illnesses are diagnosed clinically in most rural centers, and both Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs) and clinical algorithms can be valuable aids to health workers and facilitate therapeutic decisions [6,7]. The persistent fever syndrome targeted by NIDIAG is defined as presence of fever for at least one week. The NIDIAG clinical research consortium focused on potentially severe and treatable infections and therefore targeted the following conditions as differential diagnosis of persistent fever: visceral leishmaniasis (VL), human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), enteric (typhoid and paratyphoid) fever, brucellosis, melioidosis, leptospirosis, malaria, tuberculosis, amoebic liver abscess, relapsing fever, HIV/AIDS, rickettsiosis, and other infectious diseases (e.g., pneumonia). From January 2013 to October 2014, a prospective clinical phase III diagnostic accuracy study was conducted in one site in Cambodia, two sites in Nepal, two sites in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and one site in Sudan (clinicaltrials.gov no. NCT01766830). The study objectives were to (1) determine the prevalence of the target diseases in patients presenting with persistent fever, (2) assess the predictive value of clinical and first-line laboratory features, and (3) assess the diagnostic accuracy of several RDTs for the diagnosis of the different target conditions.

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<![CDATA[Is Your Ethics Committee Efficient? Using “IRB Metrics” as a Self-Assessment Tool for Continuous Improvement at the Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Thailand]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da2bab0ee8fa60b825a3

Tensions between researchers and ethics committees have been reported in several institutions. Some reports suggest researchers lack confidence in the quality of institutional review board (IRB) reviews, and that emphasis on strict procedural compliance and ethical issues raised by the IRB might unintentionally lead to delays in correspondence between researchers and ethics committees, and/or even encourage prevarication/equivocation, if researchers perceive committee concerns and criticisms unjust. This study systematically analyzed the efficiency of different IRB functions, and the relationship between efficiency and perceived quality of the decision-making process. The major purposes of this study were thus (1) to use the IRB Metrics developed by the Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Thailand (FTM-EC) to assess the operational efficiency and perceived effectiveness of its ethics committees, and (2) to determine ethical issues that may cause the duration of approval process to be above the target limit of 60 days. Based on a literature review of definitions and methods used and proposed for use, in assessing aspects of IRB quality, an “IRB Metrics” was developed to assess IRB processes using a structure-process-outcome measurement model. To observe trends in the indicators evaluated, data related to all protocols submitted to the two panels of the FTM-EC (clinical and non-clinical), between January 2010–September 2013, were extracted and analyzed. Quantitative information based on IRB Metrics structure-process-outcome illuminates different areas for internal-process improvement. Ethical issues raised with researchers by the IRB, which were associated with the duration of the approval process in protocol review, could be considered root causes of tensions between the parties. The assessment of IRB structure-process-outcome thus provides a valuable opportunity to strengthen relationships and reduce conflicts between IRBs and researchers, with positive outcomes for all parties involved in the conduct of human-subject research.

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<![CDATA[Speeding Access to Vaccines and Medicines in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Case for Change and a Framework for Optimized Product Market Authorization]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db39ab0ee8fa60bd42c4

Background

The United Nations Millennium Development Goals galvanized global efforts to alleviate suffering of the world’s poorest people through unprecedented public-private partnerships. Donor aid agencies have demonstrably saved millions of lives that might otherwise have been lost to disease through increased access to quality-assured vaccines and medicines. Yet, the introduction of these health interventions in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) continues to face a time lag due to factors which remain poorly understood.

Methods and Findings

A recurring theme from our partnership engagements was that an optimized regulatory process would contribute to improved access to quality health products. Therefore, we investigated the current system for medicine and vaccine registration in LMICs as part of our comprehensive regulatory strategy. Here, we report a fact base of the registration timelines for vaccines and drugs used to treat certain communicable diseases in LMICs. We worked with a broad set of stakeholders, including the World Health Organization’s prequalification team, national regulatory authorities, manufacturers, procurers, and other experts, and collected data on the timelines between first submission and last approval of applications for product registration sub-Saharan Africa. We focused on countries with the highest burden of communicable disease and the greatest need for the products studied. The data showed a typical lag of 4 to 7 years between the first regulatory submission which was usually to a regulatory agency in a high-income country, and the final approval in Sub-Saharan Africa. Two of the three typical registration steps which products undergo before delivery in the countries involve lengthy timelines. Failure to leverage or rely on the findings from reviews already performed by competent regulatory authorities, disparate requirements for product approval by the countries, and lengthy timelines by manufacturers to respond to regulatory queries were key underlying factors for the delays.

Conclusions

We propose a series of measures which we developed in close collaboration with key stakeholders that could be taken to reduce registration time and to make safe, effective medicines more quickly available in countries where they are most needed. Many of these recommendations are being implemented by the responsible stakeholders, including the WHO prequalification team and the national regulatory authorities in Sub-Saharan Africa. Those efforts will be the focus of subsequent publications by the pertinent groups.

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<![CDATA[Decentralization of Acid Fast Bacilli(AFB) External Quality Assurance Using Blind Rechecking for Sputum Smear Microscopy in Ethiopia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daf2ab0ee8fa60bc182b

Introduction

Ethiopia achieved a rapid expansion of TB microscopic centers for acid fast bacilli (AFB). However, external quality assurance (EQA) services were, until recently, limited to few regional and sub-regional laboratories. In this paper, we describe the decentralization experience and the result of EQA using random blinded rechecking.

Materials and Methods

The routine EQA quarterly report was compiled and analyzed. A positive result by the microscopic center while the EQA center reported negative result is categorized as false positive (FP). A negative result by the microscopic center while the EQA center reported positive is considered false negative (FN). The reading of EQA centers was considered a gold standard to compute the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive (PPV) and negative predictive values (NPV) of the readings of microscopic centers.

Results

We decentralized sputum smear AFB EQA from 4 Regional Laboratories (RRLs) to 82 EQA centers and enrolled 956 health facilities in EQA schemes. Enrollment of HFs in EQA was gradual because it required training and mentoring laboratory professionals, institutionalizing internal QA measures, equipping all HFs to perform diagnosis, and establishing more EQA centers. From 2012 to 2014 (Phase I), the FP rate declined from 0.6% to 0.2% and FN fell from as high as 7.6% to 1.6% in supported health facilities (HFs). In HFs that joined in Phase II, FN rates ranged from 5.6 to 7.3%. The proportion of HFs without errors has increased from 77.9% to 90.5% in Phase I HFs and from 82.9% to 86.9% in Phase II HFs. Overall sensitivity and specificity were 95.0% and 99.7%, respectively. PPV and NPV were 93.3% and 99.7%, respectively.

Conclusion

Decentralizing blinded rechecking of sputum smear microscopy is feasible in low-income settings. While a comprehensive laboratory improvement strategy enhanced the quality of microscopy, laboratory professionals’ capacity in slide reading and smear quality requires continued support.

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<![CDATA[Assessing Local Risk of Rifampicin-Resistant Tuberculosis in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa Using Lot Quality Assurance Sampling]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da24ab0ee8fa60b8030c

Background

KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has the highest burden of notified multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) TB cases in South Africa. A better understanding of spatial heterogeneity in the risk of drug-resistance may help to prioritize local responses.

Methods

Between July 2012 and June 2013, we conducted a two-way Lot Quality Assurance Sampling (LQAS) study to classify the burden of rifampicin (RIF)-resistant TB among incident TB cases notified within the catchment areas of seven laboratories in two northern and one southern district of KZN. Decision rules for classification of areas as having either a high- or low-risk of RIF resistant TB (based on proportion of RIF resistance among all TB cases) were based on consultation with local policy makers.

Results

We classified five areas as high-risk and two as low-risk. High-risk areas were identified in both Southern and Northern districts, with the greatest proportion of RIF resistance observed in the northernmost area, the Manguzi community situated on the Mozambique border.

Conclusion

Our study revealed heterogeneity in the risk of RIF resistant disease among incident TB cases in KZN. This study demonstrates the potential for LQAS to detect geographic heterogeneity in areas where access to drug susceptibility testing is limited.

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<![CDATA[Lapse in Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee Continuing Reviews]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9faab0ee8fa60b71b9e

The United States federal animal welfare regulations and the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals require that institutional animal care and use committees (IACUCs) conduct continuing reviews of all animal research activities. However, little is known about the lapse rate of IACUC continuing reviews, and how frequently investigators continue research activities during the lapse. It is also not clear what factors may contribute to an institution’s lapse in IACUC continuing reviews. As part of the quality assurance program, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has collected performance metric data for animal care and use programs since 2011. We analyzed IACUC continuing review performance data at 74–75 VA research facilities from 2011 through 2015. The IACUC continuing review lapse rates improved from 5.6% in 2011 to 2.7% in 2015. The rate of investigators continuing research activities during the lapse also decreased from 47.2% in 2012 to 7.4% in 2015. The type of IACUCs used and the size of animal research programs appeared to have no effect in facility’s rates of lapse in IACUC continuing reviews. While approximately 80% of facilities reported no lapse in IACUC continuing reviews, approximately 14% of facilities had lapse rates of >10% each year. Some facilities appeared to be repeat offenders. Four facilities had IACUC lapse rates of >10% in at least 3 out of 5 years, suggesting a system problem in these facilities requiring remedial actions to improve their IACUC continuing review processes.

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<![CDATA[Authentication: A Standard Problem or a Problem of Standards?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9d4ab0ee8fa60b654a5

Reproducibility and transparency in biomedical sciences have been called into question, and scientists have been found wanting as a result. Putting aside deliberate fraud, there is evidence that a major contributor to lack of reproducibility is insufficient quality assurance of reagents used in preclinical research. Cell lines are widely used in biomedical research to understand fundamental biological processes and disease states, yet most researchers do not perform a simple, affordable test to authenticate these key resources. Here, we provide a synopsis of the problems we face and how standards can contribute to an achievable solution.

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<![CDATA[Prevalence of Pre-Analytical Errors in Clinical Chemistry Diagnostic Labs in Sulaimani City of Iraqi Kurdistan]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdce2d

Background

Laboratory testing is roughly divided into three phases: a pre-analytical phase, an analytical phase and a post-analytical phase. Most analytical errors have been attributed to the analytical phase. However, recent studies have shown that up to 70% of analytical errors reflect the pre-analytical phase. The pre-analytical phase comprises all processes from the time a laboratory request is made by a physician until the specimen is analyzed at the lab. Generally, the pre-analytical phase includes patient preparation, specimen transportation, specimen collection and storage. In the present study, we report the first comprehensive assessment of the frequency and types of pre-analytical errors at the Sulaimani diagnostic labs in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Materials and Methods

Over 2 months, 5500 venous blood samples were observed in 10 public diagnostic labs of Sulaimani City. The percentages of rejected samples and types of sample inappropriateness were evaluated. The percentage of each of the following pre-analytical errors were recorded: delay in sample transportation, clotted samples, expired reagents, hemolyzed samples, samples not on ice, incorrect sample identification, insufficient sample, tube broken in centrifuge, request procedure errors, sample mix-ups, communication conflicts, misinterpreted orders, lipemic samples, contaminated samples and missed physician’s request orders. The difference between the relative frequencies of errors observed in the hospitals considered was tested using a proportional Z test. In particular, the survey aimed to discover whether analytical errors were recorded and examine the types of platforms used in the selected diagnostic labs.

Results

The analysis showed a high prevalence of improper sample handling during the pre-analytical phase. In appropriate samples, the percentage error was as high as 39%. The major reasons for rejection were hemolyzed samples (9%), incorrect sample identification (8%) and clotted samples (6%). Most quality control schemes at Sulaimani hospitals focus only on the analytical phase, and none of the pre-analytical errors were recorded. Interestingly, none of the labs were internationally accredited; therefore, corrective actions are needed at these hospitals to ensure better health outcomes. Internal and External Quality Assessment Schemes (EQAS) for the pre-analytical phase at Sulaimani clinical laboratories should be implemented at public hospitals. Furthermore, lab personnel, particularly phlebotomists, need continuous training on the importance of sample quality to obtain accurate test results.

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<![CDATA[Single-Patient Molecular Testing with NanoString nCounter Data Using a Reference-Based Strategy for Batch Effect Correction]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da2fab0ee8fa60b83f8f

A major weakness in many high-throughput genomic studies is the lack of consideration of a clinical environment where one patient at a time must be evaluated. We examined generalizable and platform-specific sources of variation from NanoString gene expression data on both ovarian cancer and Hodgkin lymphoma patients. A reference-based strategy, applicable to single-patient molecular testing is proposed for batch effect correction. The proposed protocol improved performance in an established Hodgkin lymphoma classifier, reducing batch-to-batch misclassification while retaining accuracy and precision. We suggest this strategy may facilitate development of NanoString and similar molecular assays by accelerating prospective validation and clinical uptake of relevant diagnostics.

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<![CDATA[Feasibility of MR-Based Body Composition Analysis in Large Scale Population Studies]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da84ab0ee8fa60b9b9e5

Introduction

Quantitative and accurate measurements of fat and muscle in the body are important for prevention and diagnosis of diseases related to obesity and muscle degeneration. Manually segmenting muscle and fat compartments in MR body-images is laborious and time-consuming, hindering implementation in large cohorts. In the present study, the feasibility and success-rate of a Dixon-based MR scan followed by an intensity-normalised, non-rigid, multi-atlas based segmentation was investigated in a cohort of 3,000 subjects.

Materials and Methods

3,000 participants in the in-depth phenotyping arm of the UK Biobank imaging study underwent a comprehensive MR examination. All subjects were scanned using a 1.5 T MR-scanner with the dual-echo Dixon Vibe protocol, covering neck to knees. Subjects were scanned with six slabs in supine position, without localizer. Automated body composition analysis was performed using the AMRA Profiler system, to segment and quantify visceral adipose tissue (VAT), abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue (ASAT) and thigh muscles. Technical quality assurance was performed and a standard set of acceptance/rejection criteria was established. Descriptive statistics were calculated for all volume measurements and quality assurance metrics.

Results

Of the 3,000 subjects, 2,995 (99.83%) were analysable for body fat, 2,828 (94.27%) were analysable when body fat and one thigh was included, and 2,775 (92.50%) were fully analysable for body fat and both thigh muscles. Reasons for not being able to analyse datasets were mainly due to missing slabs in the acquisition, or patient positioned so that large parts of the volume was outside of the field-of-view.

Discussion and Conclusions

In conclusion, this study showed that the rapid UK Biobank MR-protocol was well tolerated by most subjects and sufficiently robust to achieve very high success-rate for body composition analysis. This research has been conducted using the UK Biobank Resource.

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<![CDATA[Implementation of World Health Organization Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI) Guidelines for the Assessment of Pneumonia in the Under 5s in Rural Malawi]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daf4ab0ee8fa60bc2412

The Cooking and Pneumonia Study (CAPS) is a pragmatic cluster-level randomized controlled trial of the effect of an advanced cookstove intervention on pneumonia in children under the age of 5 years (under 5s) in Malawi (www.capstudy.org). The primary outcome of the trial is the incidence of pneumonia during a two-year follow-up period, as diagnosed by healthcare providers who are using the World Health Organization (WHO) integrated management of childhood illnesses (IMCI) pneumonia assessment protocol and who are blinded to the trial arms. We evaluated the quality of pneumonia assessment in under 5s in this setting via a cross-sectional study of provider-patient encounters at nine outpatient clinics located within the catchment area of 150 village-level clusters enrolled in the trial across the two study locations of Chikhwawa and Karonga, Malawi, between May and June 2015 using the IMCI guidelines as a benchmark. Data were collected using a key equipment checklist, an IMCI pneumonia knowledge test, and a clinical evaluation checklist. The median number of key equipment items available was 6 (range 4 to 7) out of a possible 7. The median score on the IMCI pneumonia knowledge test among 23 clinicians was 75% (range 60% to 89%). Among a total of 176 consultations performed by 15 clinicians, a median of 9 (range 3 to 13) out of 13 clinical evaluation tasks were performed. Overall, the clinicians were adequately equipped for the assessment of sick children, had good knowledge of the IMCI guidelines, and conducted largely thorough clinical evaluations. We recommend the simple pragmatic approach to quality assurance described herein for similar studies conducted in challenging research settings.

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<![CDATA[Standards for Cell Line Authentication and Beyond]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da0aab0ee8fa60b775e9

Different genomic technologies have been applied to cell line authentication, but only one method (short tandem repeat [STR] profiling) has been the subject of a comprehensive and definitive standard (ASN-0002). Here we discuss the power of this document and why standards such as this are so critical for establishing the consensus technical criteria and practices that can enable progress in the fields of research that use cell lines. We also examine other methods that could be used for authentication and discuss how a combination of methods could be used in a holistic fashion to assess various critical aspects of the quality of cell lines.

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<![CDATA[Global Health Diplomacy, Monitoring & Evaluation, and the Importance of Quality Assurance & Control: Findings from NIMH Project Accept (HPTN 043): A Phase III Randomized Controlled Trial of Community Mobilization, Mobile Testing, Same-Day Results, and Post-Test Support for HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa and Thailand]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db07ab0ee8fa60bc8c60

Background

Provision and scale-up of high quality, evidence-based services is essential for successful international HIV prevention interventions in order to generate and maintain intervention uptake, study integrity and participant trust, from both health service delivery and diplomatic perspectives.

Methods

We developed quality assurance (QAC) procedures to evaluate staff fidelity to a cluster-randomized trial of the NIMH Project Accept (HPTN 043) assessing the effectiveness of a community-based voluntary counseling and testing strategy. The intervention was comprised of three components—Mobile Voluntary Counseling and Testing (MVCT), Community Mobilization (CM) and Post-Test Support Services (PTSS). QAC procedures were based on standardized criteria, and were designed to assess both provider skills and adherence to the intervention protocol. Supervisors observed a random sample of 5% to 10% of sessions each month and evaluated staff against multiple criteria on scales of 1–5. A score of 5 indicated 100% adherence, 4 indicated 95% adherence, and 3 indicated 90% adherence. Scores below 3 were considered unsatisfactory, and protocol deviations were discussed with the respective staff.

Results

During the first year of the intervention, the mean scores of MVCT and CM staff across the 5 study sites were 4 (95% adherence) or greater and continued to improve over time. Mean QAC scores for the PTSS component were lower and displayed greater fluctuations. Challenges to PTSS staff were identified as coping with the wide range of activities in the PTSS component and the novelty of the PTSS process. QAC fluctuations for PTSS were also associated with new staff hires or changes in staff responsibilities. Through constant staff monitoring and support, by Year 2, QAC scores for PTSS activities had reached those of MVCT and CM.

Conclusions

The implementation of a large-sale, evidence based HIV intervention requires extensive QAC to ensure implementation effectiveness. Ongoing appraisal of study staff across sites ensures consistent and high quality delivery of all intervention components, in keeping with the goals of the study protocol, while also providing a forum for corrective feedback, additional supervision and retraining of staff. QAC ensures staff fidelity to study procedures and is critical to the successful delivery of multi-site HIV prevention interventions, as well as the delivery of services scaled up in programmatic situations.

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<![CDATA[The impact of a point-of-care testing device on CVD risk assessment completion in New Zealand primary-care practice: A cluster randomised controlled trial and qualitative investigation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdc9c8

Objectives

To assess the effect of a point of care (POC) device for testing lipids and HbA1c in addition to testing by community laboratory facilities (usual practice) on the completion of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessments in general practice.

Methods

We conducted a pragmatic, cluster randomised controlled trial in 20 New Zealand general practices stratified by size and rurality and randomised to POC device plus usual practice or usual practice alone (controls). Patients aged 35–79 years were eligible if they met national guideline criteria for CVD risk assessment. Data on CVD risk assessments were aggregated using a web-based decision support programme common to each practice. Data entered into the on-line CVD risk assessment form could be saved pending blood test results. The primary outcome was the proportion of completed CVD risk assessments. Qualitative data on practice processes for CVD risk assessment and feasibility of POC testing were collected at the end of the study by interviews and questionnaire. The POC testing was supported by a comprehensive quality assurance programme.

Results

A CVD risk assessment entry was recorded for 7421 patients in 10 POC practices and 6217 patients in 10 control practices; 99.5% of CVD risk assessments had complete data in both groups (adjusted odds ratio 1.02 [95%CI 0.61–1.69]). There were major external influences that affected the trial: including a national performance target for CVD risk assessment and changes to CVD guidelines. All practices had invested in systems and dedicated staff time to identify and follow up patients to completion. However, the POC device was viewed by most as an additional tool rather than as an opportunity to review practice work flow and leverage the immediate test results for patient education and CVD risk management discussions. Shortly after commencement, the trial was halted due to a change in the HbA1c test assay performance. The trial restarted after the manufacturing issue was rectified but this affected the end use of the device.

Conclusions

Performance incentives and external influences were more powerful modifiers of practice behaviours than the POC device in relation to CVD risk assessment completion. The promise of combining risk assessment, communication and management within one consultation was not realised. With shifts in policy focus, the utility of POC devices for patient engagement in CVD preventive care may be demonstrated if fully integrated into the clinical setting.

Trial registration

Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12613000607774

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<![CDATA[Rapid Diagnostic Tests for Neglected Infectious Diseases: Case Study Highlights Need for Customer Awareness and Postmarket Surveillance]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9f4ab0ee8fa60b6f64a ]]> <![CDATA[Algorithm for Automatic Forced Spirometry Quality Assessment: Technological Developments]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da73ab0ee8fa60b9580b

We hypothesized that the implementation of automatic real-time assessment of quality of forced spirometry (FS) may significantly enhance the potential for extensive deployment of a FS program in the community. Recent studies have demonstrated that the application of quality criteria defined by the ATS/ERS (American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society) in commercially available equipment with automatic quality assessment can be markedly improved. To this end, an algorithm for assessing quality of FS automatically was reported. The current research describes the mathematical developments of the algorithm. An innovative analysis of the shape of the spirometric curve, adding 23 new metrics to the traditional 4 recommended by ATS/ERS, was done. The algorithm was created through a two-step iterative process including: (1) an initial version using the standard FS curves recommended by the ATS; and, (2) a refined version using curves from patients. In each of these steps the results were assessed against one expert's opinion. Finally, an independent set of FS curves from 291 patients was used for validation purposes. The novel mathematical approach to characterize the FS curves led to appropriate FS classification with high specificity (95%) and sensitivity (96%). The results constitute the basis for a successful transfer of FS testing to non-specialized professionals in the community.

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<![CDATA[Recombinant human G6PD for quality control and quality assurance of novel point-of-care diagnostics for G6PD deficiency]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5cab0ee8fa60be0080

Background

A large gap for the support of point-of-care testing is the availability of reagents to support quality control (QC) of diagnostic assays along the supply chain from the manufacturer to the end user. While reagents and systems exist to support QC of laboratory screening tests for glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, they are not configured appropriately to support point-of-care testing. The feasibility of using lyophilized recombinant human G6PD as a QC reagent in novel point-of-care tests for G6PD deficiency is demonstrated.

Methods

Human recombinant G6PD (r-G6PD) was expressed in Escherichia coli and purified. Aliquots were stored at -80°C. Prior to lyophilization, aliquots were thawed, and three concentrations of r-G6PD (representing normal, intermediate, and deficient clinical G6PD levels) were prepared and mixed with a protective formulation, which protects the enzyme activity against degradation from denaturation during the lyophilization process. Following lyophilization, individual single-use tubes of lyophilized r-G6PD were placed in individual packs with desiccants and stored at five temperatures for one year. An enzyme assay for G6PD activity was used to ascertain the stability of r-G6PD activity while stored at different temperatures.

Results

Lyophilized r-G6PD is stable and can be used as a control indicator. Results presented here show that G6PD activity is stable for at least 365 days when stored at -80°C, 4°C, 30°C, and 45°C. When stored at 55°C, enzyme activity was found to be stable only through day 28.

Conclusions

Lyophilized r-G6PD enzyme is stable and can be used as a control for point-of-care tests for G6PD deficiency.

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