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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
UNITED STATES: UC San Diego and Verizon Team to Improve Tuberculosis Care
Staff Writer
December 7, 2012
University of California, San Diego (12.04.12) Aids Weekly Plus

The Verizon Foundation has given $300,000 and in-kind health information technology to the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine (UC San Diego) to develop and test the technology for “video directly observed therapy” (VDOT) for TB patients. The aim of the study is to facilitate patient adherence to TB treatment using a video application for mobile phones. Eleven million people in the world have TB, and 8.8 million cases are diagnosed each year. TB causes 1.5 million deaths annually. Antibiotics can cure TB, but the treatment can last six months. Patients who do not adhere to their treatment regime can relapse, and they may develop drug-resistant forms of TB. Directly observed treatment, which facilitates adherence, is costly and difficult to sustain in rural areas. Richard Garfein, PhD, MPH, will direct the Verizon/UC San Diego project, which will include custom patient management, text messaging, and the use of a HIPAA-compliant server. Garfein expects the project to develop technology that can function simultaneously for multiple health departments and health care providers. Verizon Terremark Cloud Computing will provide the Enterprise Cloud technology that ensures secure storage of health information. A pilot study for the VDOT project saved time and money and resulted in “high adherence and patient satisfaction,” according to Garfein.