Enhancing management of tuberculosis treatment with video directly observed therapy in New York City

Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2016 May;20(5):588-93. doi: 10.5588/ijtld.15.0738.


Setting: Directly observed therapy (DOT), the standard of care for monitoring patients on treatment for tuberculosis (TB), requires substantial health department resources, and can be inconvenient and disruptive for patients.

Objective: To determine whether video technology for remote observation of patients on anti-tuberculosis treatment (VDOT) is as effective as in-person DOT.

Design: Eligible TB patients in New York City were prospectively enrolled in VDOT from September 2013 to September 2014. We compared treatment outcomes and worker output for VDOT and in-person DOT.

Results: Among 390 patients on DOT for the treatment of TB, 61 (16%) were on VDOT and 329 (84%) on in-person DOT. Adherence to scheduled VDOT sessions was 95% (3292/3455) compared to 91% (32 204/35 442) with in-person DOT (>P < 0.01). VDOT enabled a DOT worker to observe a maximum of 25 patients per day, similar to DOT workers who observed patients in clinic (n = 25), but twice that of DOT workers who observed patients in the community (n = 12). Treatment completion with VDOT was similar to that with in-person DOT (96% vs. 97%, P = 0.63). The primary problems encountered during VDOT sessions were interruption of video and audio connectivity.

Conclusion: Implementation of VDOT resulted in successful anti-tuberculosis treatment outcomes while maximizing health department resources.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antitubercular Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Directly Observed Therapy / instrumentation
  • Directly Observed Therapy / methods*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence*
  • Middle Aged
  • New York City
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling
  • Program Evaluation
  • Prospective Studies
  • Smartphone
  • Telemedicine / instrumentation
  • Telemedicine / methods*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis / drug therapy*
  • Tuberculosis / microbiology
  • Videoconferencing* / instrumentation
  • Workload
  • Young Adult


  • Antitubercular Agents