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15/02/2021

An innovative app allows healthcare workers to remotely create an electronic medical record for a tuberculosis patient, capture patient data and record medication compliance.

The field testing of an app that allows healthcare workers to track, trace, follow up, and monitor tuberculosis (TB) patients without having to go out into communities – reducing their risk of becoming victims of criminal attacks or contracting the disease or another infection such as Covid-19 – has begun in Wells Estate in Nelson Mandela Bay.

“We have included patients with TB but also [those with] the drug-resistant types,” said Professor Darelle van Greunen of Nelson Mandela University’s Centre for Community Technology.

“What makes this app different from others was that it was designed in a way that healthcare workers do not have to leave their offices to monitor TB patients, to do follow-up consultations or to provide counselling,” she explained.

She said the Eastern Cape Department of Health had shown enthusiasm for the project. “But I was particularly struck by the excitement of the healthcare workers.”

The app, called DigiTB, reduced the risk of infection for nurses and community healthcare workers, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, and also minimised their risk of being attacked and robbed while they were doing their rounds, Van Greunen said.

This article was published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper, written by Estelle Ellis - read the full article at: www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2021-02-14-app-helps-nurses-to-track-tb-safely/amp/