Using Texting to Improve STD Follow-Up with Clients
The original purpose of Gallatin County's (Montana) quality improvement (QI) initiative was to decrease the number of sexually transmitted disease (STD) cases that were not contacted for an interview. Upon further analysis of the communicable disease (CD) follow-up procedure, the team found that only 10 out of 208 STD cases had not been contacted for an interview last year. The QI team, consisting of the CD Program manager, the CD public health nurse (PHN), the immunization nurse, and AmeriCorps VISTA, decided to switch the focus of this project to decreasing the time spent contacting and completing case interviews.
After analyzing the current process and input from PHNs in nearby health departments, the team decided that the best way to increase the efficiency of this process was to incorporate texting into the follow-up procedure. The team decided to study chlamydia cases only, in order to keep data collection manageable. The team randomized the control and intervention groups (every other positive case received was sent a text as part of the follow-up procedure) and collected data over the span of 3 months.
From the data collected, it was determined that cases in the intervention group were being completed more quickly than those in the control group. Therefore, the team decided to change the policy to include texting for all reportable diseases requiring follow-up contact with patients.
Tassaro, S. Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange. Using Texting to Improve STD Follow-Up with Clients. Fri, 06/12/2015 - 12:39. Available at http://phqix.org/content/using-texting-improve-std-follow-clients. Accessed March 4, 2021.