• Electronic clinical decision support algorithms incorporating point-of-care diagnostic tests in low-resource settings: a target product profile

      Pellé, KG; Rambaud-Althaus, C; D'Acremont, V; Moran, G; Sampath, R; Katz, Z; Moussy, FG; Mehl, GL; Dittrich, S (The British Medical Journal, 2020-02-28)
      Health workers in low-resource settings often lack the support and tools to follow evidence-based clinical recommendations for diagnosing, treating and managing sick patients. Digital technologies, by combining patient health information and point-of-care diagnostics with evidence-based clinical protocols, can help improve the quality of care and the rational use of resources, and save patient lives. A growing number of electronic clinical decision support algorithms (CDSAs) on mobile devices are being developed and piloted without evidence of safety or impact. Here, we present a target product profile (TPP) for CDSAs aimed at guiding preventive or curative consultations in low-resource settings. This document will help align developer and implementer processes and product specifications with the needs of end users, in terms of quality, safety, performance and operational functionality. To identify the characteristics of CDSAs, a multidisciplinary group of experts (academia, industry and policy makers) with expertise in diagnostic and CDSA development and implementation in low-income and middle-income countries were convened to discuss a draft TPP. The TPP was finalised through a Delphi process to facilitate consensus building. An agreement greater than 75% was reached for all 40 TPP characteristics. In general, experts were in overwhelming agreement that, given that CDSAs provide patient management recommendations, the underlying clinical algorithms should be human-interpretable and evidence-based. Whenever possible, the algorithm’s patient management output should take into account pretest disease probabilities and likelihood ratios of clinical and diagnostic predictors. In addition, validation processes should at a minimum show that CDSAs are implementing faithfully the evidence they are based on, and ideally the impact on patient health outcomes. In terms of operational needs, CDSAs should be designed to fit within clinic workflows and function in connectivity-challenged and high-volume settings. Data collected through the tool should conform to local patient privacy regulations and international data standards.
    • A Novel Electronic Algorithm using Host Biomarker Point-of-Care tests for the Management of Febrile Illnesses in Tanzanian children (e-POCT): A randomized, controlled non-inferiority trial

      Keitel, K; Kagoro, F; Samaka, J; Masimba, J; Said, Z; Temba, H; Mlaganile, T; Sangu, W; Rambaud-Althaus, C; Gervaix, A; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2017-10-23)
      The management of childhood infections remains inadequate in resource-limited countries, resulting in high mortality and irrational use of antimicrobials. Current disease management tools, such as the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) algorithm, rely solely on clinical signs and have not made use of available point-of-care tests (POCTs) that can help to identify children with severe infections and children in need of antibiotic treatment. e-POCT is a novel electronic algorithm based on current evidence; it guides clinicians through the entire consultation and recommends treatment based on a few clinical signs and POCT results, some performed in all patients (malaria rapid diagnostic test, hemoglobin, oximeter) and others in selected subgroups only (C-reactive protein, procalcitonin, glucometer). The objective of this trial was to determine whether the clinical outcome of febrile children managed by the e-POCT tool was non-inferior to that of febrile children managed by a validated electronic algorithm derived from IMCI (ALMANACH), while reducing the proportion with antibiotic prescription.
    • Target Product Profile for a Diagnostic Assay to Differentiate between Bacterial and Non-Bacterial Infections and Reduce Antimicrobial Overuse in Resource-Limited Settings: An Expert Consensus

      Dittrich, S; Tadesse, BT; Moussy, F; Chua, A; Zorzet, A; Tängdén, T; Dolinger, DL; Page, AL; Crump, JA; D'Acremont, V; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2016-08-25)
      Acute fever is one of the most common presenting symptoms globally. In order to reduce the empiric use of antimicrobial drugs and improve outcomes, it is essential to improve diagnostic capabilities. In the absence of microbiology facilities in low-income settings, an assay to distinguish bacterial from non-bacterial causes would be a critical first step. To ensure that patient and market needs are met, the requirements of such a test should be specified in a target product profile (TPP). To identify minimal/optimal characteristics for a bacterial vs. non-bacterial fever test, experts from academia and international organizations with expertise in infectious diseases, diagnostic test development, laboratory medicine, global health, and health economics were convened. Proposed TPPs were reviewed by this working group, and consensus characteristics were defined. The working group defined non-severely ill, non-malaria infected children as the target population for the desired assay. To provide access to the most patients, the test should be deployable to community health centers and informal health settings, and staff should require <2 days of training to perform the assay. Further, given that the aim is to reduce inappropriate antimicrobial use as well as to deliver appropriate treatment for patients with bacterial infections, the group agreed on minimal diagnostic performance requirements of >90% and >80% for sensitivity and specificity, respectively. Other key characteristics, to account for the challenging environment at which the test is targeted, included: i) time-to-result <10 min (but maximally <2 hrs); ii) storage conditions at 0-40°C, ≤90% non-condensing humidity with a minimal shelf life of 12 months; iii) operational conditions of 5-40°C, ≤90% non-condensing humidity; and iv) minimal sample collection needs (50-100μL, capillary blood). This expert approach to define assay requirements for a bacterial vs. non-bacterial assay should guide product development, and enable targeted and timely efforts by industry partners and academic institutions.