Publications by authors named "Christie Cloete"

8 Publications

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Evaluation of a health system intervention to improve virological management in an antiretroviral programme at a municipal clinic in central Durban.

South Afr J HIV Med 2019 26;20(1):985. Epub 2019 Sep 26.

HIV Prevention Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Durban, South Africa.

Background: With the largest antiretroviral therapy (ART) programme globally, demand for effective HIV management is increasing in South Africa. While viral load (VL) testing is conducted, VL follow-up and management are sub-optimal.

Objectives: The objective of this study was to address gaps in the VL cascade to improve VL testing and management.

Methods: Antiretroviral therapy records were sampled for an in-depth review. The study team then reviewed individual records, focusing on ART management, virological suppression and retention. Multifaceted interventions focused on virological control, including a clinical summary chart for ART care; streamlining laboratory results receipt and management; monitoring VL suppression, flagging virological failure and missed visits for follow-up; down-referral of stable patients eligible for the chronic club system; and training of personnel and patients.

Results: Pre-intervention, 78% (94/120) of eligible patients had VL tests, versus 92% (145/158) post-intervention ( = 0.0009). Pre-intervention, 59% (71/120) of patients accessed their VL results, versus 86% (136/158) post-intervention ( < 0.0001). Post-intervention, 73% (19/26) of patients eligible for ART change were appropriately managed, versus 11% (4/36) pre-intervention ( < 0.0001). Only 27% had no regimen changes (7/26) post-intervention, versus 81% (29/36) pre-intervention ( < 0.0001).

Conclusion: Service delivery was streamlined to facilitate HIV services by focusing on VL test monitoring, protocol training and accessibility of results, thereby improving clinical management.
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September 2019

Using national laboratory data to assess cumulative frequency of linkage after transfer to community-based HIV clinics in South Africa.

J Int AIDS Soc 2019 06;22(6):e25326

Medical Practice Evaluation Center, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.

Introduction: Changes to the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) funding have led to closures of non-governmental HIV clinics with patient transfers to government-funded clinics. We sought to determine the success of transfers in South Africa using a national data source.

Methods: All adults (≥18 years) on antiretroviral therapy (ART) who visited a single PEPFAR-funded hospital-based HIV clinic in Durban, South Africa from March to June 2012 were transferred to community-based clinics. Previously, we matched patient records from the hospital-based HIV clinic with National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) Corporate Data Warehouse (CDW) data to estimate the proportion of patients with a CD4 count or viral load (VL) in the CDW during the year before transfer. As a proxy for retention in care, in this study we evaluated whether patients had a CD4 count or VL at another facility within approximately three years of transfer. Patients referred to a private doctor at transfer were excluded from the analysis. We assessed predictors (age, sex, CD4 count, VL status, ART duration and location of future care) of not having post-transfer laboratory data using Cox proportional hazards models.

Results: Of the 3893 patients referred to a government facility at transfer, 41% were male and median age was 39 years (IQR 34 to 46). There was a post-transfer CD4 count or VL from another facility for 23% of these individuals within six months, 44% within one year, 57% within two years and 61% within approximately three years. Male sex (aHR 1.20, 95% CI 1.10 to 1.31) and shorter duration on ART (<3 months, aHR 3.80, 95% CI 2.77 to 5.21; three months to one year, aHR 1.32, 95% CI 1.15 to 1.51, each compared with >1 year) were associated with not having a post-transfer record.

Conclusions: Using data from the NHLS CDW, 61% of patients had evidence of a post-transfer laboratory record at another facility within approximately three years after closure of a large South African HIV clinic. Males and those with shorter time on ART prior to transfer were at highest risk for lacking follow-up laboratory data. As patients transfer care, national data sources can be used to evaluate long-term patient care trajectories.
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June 2019

Assessing the completeness and accuracy of South African National Laboratory CD4 and viral load data: a cross-sectional study.

BMJ Open 2018 08 23;8(8):e021506. Epub 2018 Aug 23.

Medical Practice Evaluation Center, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Objective: To assess the accuracy of the South African National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) corporate data warehouse (CDW) using a novel data cross-matching method.

Methods: Adults (≥18 years) on antiretroviral therapy (ART) who visited a hospital-based HIV clinic in Durban from March to June 2012 were included. We matched patient identifiers, CD4 and viral load (VL) records from the HIV clinic's electronic record with the NHLS CDW according to a set of matching criteria for patient identifiers, test values and test dates. We calculated the matching rates for patient identifiers, CD4 and VL records, and an overall matching rate.

Results: NHLS returned records for 3498 (89.6%) of the 3906 individuals requested. Using our computer algorithm, we confidently matched 3278 patients (83.9% of the total request). Considering less than confident matches as well, and then manually reviewing questionable matches using only patient identifiers, only nine (0.3% of records returned by NHLS) of the suggested matches were judged incorrect.

Conclusions: We developed a data cross-matching method to evaluate national laboratory data and were able to match almost 9 of 10 patients with data we expected to find in the NHLS CDW. We found few questionable matches, suggesting that manual review of records returned was not essential. As the number of patients initiating ART in South Africa grows, maintaining a comprehensive and accurate national data repository is of critical importance, since it may serve as a valuable tool to evaluate the effectiveness of the country's HIV care system. This study helps validate the use of NHLS CDW data in future research on South Africa's HIV care system and may inform analyses in similar settings with national laboratory systems.
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August 2018

Adolescent Linkage to Care After a Large-scale Transfer From a Hospital-based HIV Clinic to the Public Sector in South Africa.

Pediatr Infect Dis J 2017 03;36(3):311-313

From the *Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Global Health, Department of Pediatrics, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California; †Division of General Internal Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; ‡Medical Practice Evaluation Center, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; §McCord Hospital, Durban, South Africa; ¶Health Economics and HIV and AIDS Research Division (HEARD), University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa; ‖Harvard University Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), Boston, Massachusetts; **Biostatistics Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; ††Departments of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts; ‡‡Departments of Epidemiology and Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts; §§Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; ¶¶Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; and ‖‖Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.

HIV clinics formerly supported by the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief are transferring patients to public-sector clinics. We evaluated adolescent linkage to care after a large-scale transfer from a President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief-subsidized pediatric HIV clinic in Durban, South Africa. All adolescents (11-18 years) in care at a pediatric state-subsidized, hospital-based clinic (HBC) were transferred, from May to June 2012, to government sites [primary health care (PHC) clinic; community health center (CHC); and HBCs] or private clinics. Caregivers were surveyed 7-8 months after transfer to assess their adolescents' linkage to care and their reports were validated by clinic record audits in a subset of randomly selected clinics. Of the 309 (91%) caregivers reached, only 5 (2%) reported that their adolescent did not link. Of the 304 adolescents who linked, 105 (35%) were referred to a PHC, 73 (24%) to a CHC and 106 (35%) to a HBC. A total of 146 (48%) linked adolescents attended a different clinic than that assigned. Thirty-five (20%) of the 178 who linked and were assigned to a PHC or CHC ultimately attended a HBC. Based on clinic validation, the estimated transfer success was 88% (95% confidence interval: 77%-97%). The large majority of adolescents successfully transferred to a new HIV clinic, although nearly half attended a clinic other than that assigned.
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March 2017

Record linkage to correct under-ascertainment of cancers in HIV cohorts: The Sinikithemba HIV clinic linkage project.

Int J Cancer 2016 09 18;139(6):1209-16. Epub 2016 May 18.

Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM), University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

The surveillance of HIV-related cancers in South Africa is hampered by the lack of systematic collection of cancer diagnoses in HIV cohorts and the absence of HIV status in cancer registries. To improve cancer ascertainment and estimate cancer incidence, we linked records of adults (aged ≥ 16 years) on antiretroviral treatment (ART) enrolled at Sinikithemba HIV clinic, McCord Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) with the cancer records of public laboratories in KZN province using probabilistic record linkage (PRL) methods. We calculated incidence rates for all cancers, Kaposi sarcoma (KS), cervix, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and non-AIDS defining cancers (NADCs) before and after inclusion of linkage-identified cancers with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). A total of 8,721 records of HIV-positive patients were linked with 35,536 cancer records. Between 2004 and 2010, we identified 448 cancers, 82% (n = 367) were recorded in the cancer registry only, 10% (n = 43) in the HIV cohort only and 8% (n = 38) both in the HIV cohort and the cancer registry. The overall cancer incidence rate in patients starting ART increased from 134 (95% CI 91-212) to 877 (95% CI 744-1,041) per 100,000 person-years after inclusion of linkage-identified cancers. Incidence rates were highest for KS (432, 95% CI 341-555), followed by cervix (259, 95% CI 179-390) and NADCs (294, 95% CI 223-395) per 100,000 person-years. Ascertainment of cancer in HIV cohorts is incomplete, PRL is both feasible and essential for cancer ascertainment.
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September 2016

Understanding HIV-infected patients' experiences with PEPFAR-associated transitions at a Centre of Excellence in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa: a qualitative study.

AIDS Care 2015 24;27(10):1298-303. Epub 2015 Aug 24.

e Harvard University Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) , Boston , MA , USA.

South Africa was the largest recipient of funding from the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) for antiretroviral therapy (ART) programs from 2004 to 2012. Funding decreases have led to transfers from hospital and non-governmental organization-based care to government-funded, community-based clinics. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 36 participants to assess patient experiences related to transfer of care from a PEPFAR-funded, hospital-based clinic in Durban to either primary care clinics or hospital-based clinics. Participant narratives revealed the importance of connectedness between patients and the PEPFAR-funded clinic program staff, who were described as respectful and conscientious. Participants reported that transfer clinics were largely focused on dispensing medication and on throughput, rather than holistic care. Although participants appreciated the free treatment at transfer sites, they expressed frustration with long waiting times and low perceived quality of patient-provider communication, and felt that they were treated disrespectfully. These factors eroded confidence in the quality of the care. The transfer was described by participants as hurried with an apparent lack of preparation at transfer clinics for new patient influx. Formal (e.g., counseling) and informal (e.g., family) social supports, both within and beyond the PEPFAR-funded clinic, provided a buffer to challenges faced during and after the transition in care. These data support the importance of social support, adequate preparation for transfer, and improving the quality of care in receiving clinics, in order to optimize retention in care and long-term adherence to treatment.
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February 2018

The Linkage Outcomes of a Large-scale, Rapid Transfer of HIV-infected Patients From Hospital-based to Community-based Clinics in South Africa.

Open Forum Infect Dis 2014 Sep 12;1(2):ofu058. Epub 2014 Aug 12.

Division of General Medicine ; Medical Practice Evaluation Center, Department of Medicine ; Division of Infectious Disease , Massachusetts General Hospital ; Harvard University Center for AIDS Research (CFAR).

Background: President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) funding changes have resulted in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) clinic closures. We evaluated linkage to care following a large-scale patient transfer from a PEPFAR-funded, hospital-based HIV clinic to government-funded, community-based clinics in Durban.

Methods: All adults were transferred between March and June 2012. Subjects were surveyed 5-10 months post-transfer to assess self-reported linkage to the target clinic. We validated self-reports by auditing records at 8 clinics. Overall success of transfer was estimated using linkage to care data for both reached and unreached subjects, adjusted for validation results.

Results: Of the 3913 transferred patients, 756 (19%) were assigned to validation clinics; 659 (87%) of those patients were reached. Among those reached, 468 (71%) had a validated clinic record visit. Of the 46 who self-reported attending a different validation clinic than originally assigned, 39 (85%) had a validated visit. Of the 97 patients not reached, 59 (61%) had a validated visit at their assigned clinic. Based on the validation rates for reached and unreached patients, the estimated success of transfer for the cohort overall was 82%.

Conclusions: Most patients reported successful transfer to a community-based clinic, though a quarter attended a different clinic than assigned. Validation of attendance highlights that nearly 20% of patients may not have linked to care and may have experienced a treatment interruption. Optimizing transfers of HIV care to community sites requires collaboration with receiving clinics to ensure successful linkage to care.
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September 2014

Diagnostic delays and clinical decision making with centralized Xpert MTB/RIF testing in Durban, South Africa.

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2014 Nov;67(3):e88-93

*Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; †Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA; ‡Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA; §Medical Practice Evaluation Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA; ‖The Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies, Tufts Medical Center, Boston, MA; ¶Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Tufts University, Boston, MA; #McCord Hospital, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa; and **Center for AIDS Research, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.

Setting: We conducted a retrospective study among HIV-infected adult suspects (≥18 years) with pulmonary tuberculosis (TB), who underwent Xpert MTB/RIF (Xpert) testing at McCord Hospital and its adjoining HIV clinic in Durban, South Africa.

Objective: To determine if Xpert testing performed at a centralized laboratory accelerated time to TB diagnosis.

Design: We obtained data on sputum smear microscopy [acid-fast bacilli (AFB)], Xpert, and the rationale for treatment initiation from medical records. The primary outcome was "total diagnostic time," defined as time from sputum collection to clinicians' receipt of results. A linear mixed-effect model compared the duration of steps in the diagnostic pathway across testing modalities.

Results: Among 403 participants, the median "total diagnostic time" for AFB and Xpert was 3.3 and 6.4 days, respectively (P < 0.001). When compared with AFB, the median delay for Xpert "laboratory processing" was 1.4 days (P < 0.001) and "result transfer to clinic" was 1.7 days (P < 0.001). Among 86 Xpert-positive participants who initiated treatment, 49 (57%) started treatment based on clinical suspicion or AFB-positive results, whereas only 32 (37%) started treatment based on Xpert-positive results.

Conclusions: In our setting, Xpert results took twice as long as AFB results to reach clinicians. Replacing AFB with centralized Xpert may delay TB diagnoses in some settings.
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November 2014