Quality Improvement Initiative Findings Demonstrates Need to Further Address Substance Abuse, Violence, and HIV/AIDS
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NEW YORK (10/19/2021) – DKBmed, LLC is developing a series of online group learning activities for clinicians who care for women with HIV. The program, entitled ECHO HIV: Finding the Invisible Patient, is designed to help clinicians improve care for women with HIV and is an expansion of recently concluded single-center pilot program.
In the United States, many women with HIV encounter significant barriers to seeking care because of substance abuse and exposure to violence. The co-occurrence of these factors, termed the SAVA (substance abuse, violence, and HIV/AIDS) syndemic, is particularly hard to address. Among women living with HIV in the U.S., only 51% of women are retained in care and a slim majority (53%) achieve viral suppression with existing treatments.
Clinical management of HIV in women requires heightened provider awareness and a multidisciplinary approach to treatment. ECHO HIV: Finding the Invisible Patient is based on the success of DKBmed’s earlier quality improvement initiative, Optimizing Disease Management: Finding the Invisible Patient, which recently concluded at the HIV Women’s Clinic at the Johns Hopkins University. Program directors, Jean R. Anderson, MD, Joyce Leitch Jones, MD, MS, and Alison Livingston, RN at JHU initiated a regular screening and treatment protocol for their patients, along with education of their staff. Topics included the epidemiology of SAVA, recognizing risk factors, and knowing how to better communicate with affected patients. Screening revealed that 60% of patients in the JHU clinic screened positive for at least one contributing factor of SAVA; nearly 34% screened positive for interpersonal violence. Patients who were affected by violence, substance use, and depression were then linked to additional care.
These and other findings from the pilot program demonstrate a strong need to address SAVA with a systems-level-based approach. The realization that this syndemic was so prevalent at JHU made it clear to those involved that expanding this education to other community HIV centers would be extremely beneficial to women with HIV elsewhere.
ECHO HIV: Finding the Invisible Patient will address critical gaps in care by using the Project ECHO model. The initiative will specifically target HIV clinics, women’s health clinics, and ob-gyn clinics with large populations of underserved women at elevated risk of SAVA. Group learning activities conducted online will feature:
- Experts in HIV and SAVA who can guide the training of clinicians currently treating women with HIV in underserved communities
- Discussions exploring the prevalence of SAVA, contributing factors to SAVA, its implications on health outcomes, systems-level challenges for effective patient management, and specific considerations for adolescents, pregnant women, and immigrants
- Brief faculty lectures (20 minutes in length) supplemented by group discussions
- Participant presentations of challenging cases
About Project ECHO Project ECHO (Extension for Community Health Outcomes) is a collaborative model of medical education and care management that helps clinicians provide expert-level care to patients wherever they live. By using a hub-and-spoke knowledge-sharing approach, Project ECHO amplifies the capacity for providers to deliver best-in-practice care to the underserved in their own communities. To learn more about Project ECHO, visit the University of New Mexico’s dedicated website for the project here: https://hsc.unm.edu/echo/
About DKBmed DKBmed is an integrated continuing medical education company operated by an experienced team of medical education experts. DKBmed provides health care professionals with effective medical education that closes identified knowledge and practice gaps to improve patient health.
Working with accredited providers and other partners, DKBmed develops innovative educational programs and quality improvement (QI) initiatives, bringing new learning methodologies to the CME landscape. DKBmed has become a leader in QI in the independent medical education space with QI projects in Pain Management, HIV, Depression, Influenza, and Diabetic Eye Disease. DKBmed was also an early adopter of case scenarios with real patients and live actors, TED/DKBmed Talks, 3D animation, webcasts, podcasts, and smart phone applications for clinicians and patients. These forward-thinking approaches enable health care professionals to learn and access educational programs in a manner that is most convenient and appropriate for them.
DKBmed’s programs are accessible through the company’s website (www.dkbmed.com). They reach more than 150,000 health care professionals in primary care and in a variety of specialties and disease states including: HIV, COVID-19, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, influenza, dermatology, retinal disease, rheumatoid arthritis, COPD, asthma, multiple sclerosis, pain management, depression and viral hepatitis (HBV, HCV) and oncology.