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.