Intervention improved appointment attendance in HIV clinics

An intervention in which posters, brochures and brief messages were used in HIV-specialty clinics to encourage patients to come in for their appointments improved clinic attendance among those with HIV, according to recent study data.

“Improving retention of HIV-infected patients in care is a priority from both clinical and public health perspectives and is a major objective of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy,” the researchers for the Retention in Care Study Group wrote. “Yet, few studies have evaluated better methods of conveying to patients the importance of attending all HIV care appointments.”

The researchers launched the first phase of the CDC/Health Resources and Services Administration Retention in Care study in May 1, 2008, with a pre-intervention period that ran until April 30, 2009. During this time, there were 10,018 patients. The intervention period ran from May 1, 2009, until April 30, 2010. During the intervention period, there were posters, brochures and staff verbal messages about the importance of regular care and keeping appointments. During the intervention period, there were 11,039 patients.

In the intervention phase, the overall adjusted percentage of improvement for keeping two consecutive visits was 7%. New or re-engaging patients and patients with a detectable viral load were two subgroups with marked improvement. The overall adjusted relative improvement in the mean proportion of all visits kept was 3%. New or re-engaging patients, patients with a detectable viral load and patients aged 16 to 29 years were subgroups with significant improvement.

“Although, as a percentage, the impact of the intervention was relatively small across all patients, the effect was highly significant and, if generalizable to all other HIV care sites, it provides a relatively low-cost and low-effort clinic-wide process that could improve clinic visit adherence for thousands of patients,” the researchers wrote.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.