Harris County Public Health and Dr. Juzar Ali recognized for innovation to control TB in the U.S.

Every year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announces its list of U.S. Tuberculosis (TB) Elimination Champions –individuals and organizations who work in effective and engaging ways to end TB in the United States. This year, 2 of the 10 Champions are emocha customers: Harris County Public Health and Dr. Juzar Ali, Medical Director of the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-Wetmore Foundation Program for Mycobacterial Diseases.

Video Directly Observed Therapy supports Harris County patients in a hurricane

Harris County Public Health (HCPH), emocha partners since 2014, used video Directly Observed Therapy (DOT) to help patients continue their TB treatment without interruption during the historic flooding of Hurricane Harvey.

When the hurricane hit in August 2017, a total of 108 patients were receiving directly observed therapy in Harris County. Of those, 61 used emocha for video DOT and 47 participated in in-person DOT. During the storm, patients using emocha continued to submit videos. As a result, 59 out of 61 of emocha patients were able to continue their TB treatment remotely without interruption, achieving 100 percent medication adherence. Due to flooding, in-person DOT services were disrupted, so all 47 patients treated through in-person DOT had their treatment extended by an average of 16 days. The efforts to continue treatment for patients in Texas with TB were recently published by the CDC.

HCPH was the first large scale implementation of emocha’s video DOT application. They have been leaders in the field, and were named TB Elimination Champions in 2016 for using video DOT to maximize resources.

New Orleans first to use video Directly Observed Therapy in Louisiana

Dr. Ali and his team, including Dr. Nicole Lapinel, Dr. Margarita Silio, Maureen Vincent Chris Brown, and Malcolm Light have, been emocha partners since August 2017. They are the first in the state of Louisiana to introduce video DOT to care for TB patients and recently completed phase 1 of their emocha implementation. The New Orleans-based team will continue their innovative care methods by expanding the video DOT program to support more patients starting this spring.

In addition to their work with video DOT, Dr. Ali and his team have developed a referral process by coordinating efforts among primary care clinics and community outreach teams comprised of medical students from Tulane and Louisiana State University who volunteer at homeless shelters. This allows for follow up with TB patients at the community level, and has helped establish a model of a Wetmore TB Medical Home for these patients. This unique community-based effort promises to efficiently use resources to help manage — and ultimately reduce — the city’s TB burden.

Whether they cover vast rural areas or heavily populated urban centers, health departments around the world are using emocha to help patients successfully complete treatment.

These are just two examples of partners using our technology to overcome the challenges facing both public health departments and patients with TB. Their work and expertise are essential to improving our technology and, most importantly, helping patients in the fight against TB.