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AIDS Research and Therapy

The impact of the National HIV Health Care Worker Hotline on patient care in South Africa




 

Background

South Africa has a huge burden of illness due to HIV infection. Many health care workers managing HIV infected patients, particularly those in rural areas and primary care health facilities, have minimal access to information resources and to advice and support from experienced clinicians. The Medicines Information Centre, based in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Cape Town, has been running the National HIV Health Care Worker (HCW) Hotline since 2008, providing free information for HIV treatment-related queries via telephone, fax and e-mail.

Results

A questionnaire-based study showed that 224 (44%) of the 511 calls that were received by the hotline during the 2-month study period were patient-specific. Ninety-four completed questionnaires were included in the analysis. Of these, 72 (77%) were from doctors, 13 (14%) from pharmacists and 9 (10%) from nurses. 96% of the callers surveyed took an action based on the advice received from the National HIV HCW Hotline. The majority of actions concerned the start, dose adaption, change, or discontinuation of medicines. Less frequent actions taken were adherence and lifestyle counselling, further investigations, referring or admission of patients.

Conclusions

The information provided by the National HIV HCW Hotline on patient-specific requests has a direct impact on the management of patients.

*Corresponding author: Briony S Chisholm briony.chisholm@uct.ac.za

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© 2011 Chisholm et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



 





 


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Information in this article was accurate in January 26, 2011. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.