HIV patients’ condition monitored via app

Summary

Antwerp’s Institute of Tropical Medicine is running a pilot project to see if quality of care is assured when HIV patients’ health stats are monitored via app

Saving trips to the doctor

HIV patients are currently testing a smartphone app that monitors their condition. The project is being carried out locally by the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) in Antwerp as part of the European EmERGE project.

Because HIV, the virus that causes Aids, can now largely be managed with medication, research institutes are looking into ways to decrease in-person consultations. ITM’s HIV clinic is testing an app developed by British company Podmedics that shows patients their lab results. Podmedics is also about to release a version that would allow patients to get their prescriptions digitally.

The app would allow patients to drop half of their visits to the doctor, and the pilot project is examining if the method guarantees the same quality of monitoring and if it is user-friendly and cost-efficient. Earlier studies have indicated that the digital follow-up system has no negative consequences for patients’ health.

Patients can take more control over their own health with the app, according to ITM HIV specialist Ludwig Apers. “Their health stats are always at hand, including when they visit their GP.”

The trial project will run for at least 18 months, and those taking part will have access to the app for free for five years. The app that ultimately comes on to the market will, in any case, be offered at a low cost, according to ITM.
Photo courtesy EmERGE