New Strategies in Clinical Guideline Delivery: Randomized Trial of Online, Interactive Decision Support Versus Guidelines for Human Immunodeficiency Virus Treatment Selection by Trainees

Clin Infect Dis. 2021 May 4;72(9):1608-1614. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciaa299.


Background: Support for clinicians in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) medicine is critical given national HIV-provider shortages. The US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) guidelines are comprehensive but complex to apply for antiretroviral therapy (ART) selection. Human immunodeficiency virus antiretroviral selection support and interactive search tool (HIV-ASSIST) ( is a free tool providing ART decision support that could augment implementation of clinical practice guidelines.

Methods: We conducted a randomized study of medical trainees at Johns Hopkins University, in which participants were asked to select an ART regimen for 10 HIV case scenarios through an electronic survey. Participants were randomized to receive either DHHS guidelines alone, or DHHS guidelines and HIV-ASSIST to support their decision making. ART selections were graded "appropriate" if consistent with DHHS guidelines, or concordant with regimens selected by HIV experts at 4 academic institutions.

Results: Among 118 trainees, participants randomized to receive HIV-ASSIST had a significantly higher percentage of appropriate ART selections compared to those receiving DHHS guidelines alone (percentage of appropriate responses in DHHS vs HIV-ASSIST arms: median [Q1, Q3], 40% [30%, 50%] vs 90% [80%, 100%]; P < .001). The effect was seen for all case types, but most pronounced for complex cases involving ART-experienced patients with ongoing viremia (DHHS vs HIV-ASSIST: median [Q1, Q3], 0% [0%, 33%] vs 100% [66%, 100%]).

Conclusions: Trainees using HIV-ASSIST were significantly more likely to choose appropriate ART regimens compared to those using guidelines alone. Interactive decision support tools may be important to ensure appropriate implementation of HIV guidelines.

Clinical trials registration: NCT04080765.

Keywords: HIV; decision analysis; guidelines.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-HIV Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • HIV
  • HIV Infections* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Patient Selection


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents

Associated data