Effect of a clinical decision support system on early action on immunological treatment failure in patients with HIV in Kenya: a cluster randomised controlled trial

Tom Oluoch, Abraham Katana, Daniel Kwaro, Xenophon Santas, Patrick Langat, Samuel Mwalili, Kimeu Muthusi, Nicky Okeyo, James K. Ojwang, Ronald Cornet, Ameen Abu-Hanna, Nicolette de Keizer

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14 Citations (Scopus)


A clinical decision support system (CDSS) is a computer program that applies a set of rules to data stored in electronic health records to offer actionable recommendations. We aimed to establish whether a CDSS that supports detection of immunological treatment failure among patients with HIV taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) would improve appropriate and timely action. We did this prospective, cluster randomised controlled trial in adults and children (aged ≥18 months) who were eligible for, and receiving, ART at HIV clinics in Siaya County, western Kenya. Health facilities were randomly assigned (1:1), via block randomisation (block size of two) with a computer-generated random number sequence, to use electronic health records either alone (control) or with CDSS (intervention). Facilities were matched by type and by number of patients enrolled in HIV care. The primary outcome measure was the difference between groups in the proportion of patients who experienced immunological treatment failure and had a documented clinical action. We used generalised linear mixed models with random effects to analyse clustered data. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01634802. Between Sept 1, 2012, and Jan 31, 2014, 13 clinics, comprising 41,062 patients, were randomly assigned to the control group (n=6) or the intervention group (n=7). Data collection at each site took 12 months. Among patients eligible for ART, 10,358 (99%) of 10,478 patients were receiving ART at control sites and 10,991 (99%) of 11,028 patients were receiving ART at intervention sites. Of these patients, 1125 (11%) in the control group and 1342 (12%) in the intervention group had immunological treatment failure, of whom 332 (30%) and 727 (54%), respectively, received appropriate action. The likelihood of clinicians taking appropriate action on treatment failure was higher with CDSS alerts than with no decision support system (adjusted odds ratio 3·18, 95% CI 1·02-9·87). CDSS significantly improved the likelihood of appropriate and timely action on immunological treatment failure. We expect our findings will be generalisable to virological monitoring of patients with HIV receiving ART once countries implement the 2015 WHO recommendation to scale up viral load monitoring. US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), through the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e76-e84
JournalLancet HIV
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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