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Leading the Fight Against TB with Lynx

Published 2021-05-19 07:25:44

 

The fight against tuberculosis (TB) globally has entered an era that aims to reduce TB deaths by 95% and cut new cases by 90% between 2015 and 2035.1 In order to fast-track these targets, it is essential for districts, cities, and provinces to report timely, accurate, and complete data at all levels of reporting to strengthen the management of TB programmes. One important component to achieving the 2035 targets is effective data collection and analysis to guide decision-making and improve the implementation of TB control measures.

According to a journal published by National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), the successful elimination of disease epidemics has typically involved two essential components: (1) systematic reporting of every case and (2) the identification of disease clusters or “hotspots” at the local level where ongoing transmission occurs. Ultimately, the goal of ending TB globally requires high-quality data and robust reporting infrastructures that streamline M&E processes, build M&E capacity, and inform targeted responses that bolster patient health outcomes for TB programmes.

In order to support and strengthen TB programmes and data-driven interventions, our Lynx software applications provide programme managers and healthcare providers with digital tools to streamline data collection at the point of care, improve data processing, and optimise patient data management for ground-breaking programme reporting capacity.

Lynx mHealth

Lynx mHealth is our mobile-based data collection tool initially developed to facilitate HIV testing services through utilising advanced data collection algorithms at the point of care. Lynx mHealth is a software application that improves the consistency, accuracy, and completeness of data by eliminating paper-based data collection methods.

Suitable for fieldwork in any clinical setting, Lynx mHealth mobilises patient care as it is a mobile app available on any Android compatible mobile and tablet device. Through the utilisation of a mobile solution in the field, healthcare workers can achieve higher rates of screening at the point of care using a single system that features:

                     A rapid HIV screening and testing module

                     A TB, Malaria, and STI screening module.

                     A COVID-19 symptom screening module.

                     An integrated GBV screening module.

Captured data from screening tests also include metadata with each record to provide context of the data captured and allows for more detailed and accurate reporting. Metadata also includes the counsellor who captured the record, the location and time when counselling took place, as well as the number of records captured on the device, and other data.

To facilitate holistic counselling, Lynx-mHealth is ideal for healthcare workers who administer care in marginalised communities with limited or poor infrastructure. The application is designed to operate in offline mode, enabling the collection of patient information even without an internet connection. All data that is collected via smartphone or tablet in offline mode is securely stored and encrypted, whereafter it is automatically synced to our secure servers when an internet connection is present.  

Lynx-eHealth

In addition to Lynx mHealth, the Lynx Health solution features a Lynx eHealth online ADC systema web-based portal that captures historic paper-based sources. This tool can be accessed on any device with an internet connection and internet browser and requires no installation.

Although this tool was developed primarily for streamlining the capture of paper-based records to allow for reporting on historic data, it is also suitable for capturing any customised form that is required. Data captured into the online form submits data to Qode Knowledge Center, which enables the merging of historic data captured on paper with live data being captured through Lynx mHealth.

The Lynx eHealth tool saves work in progress locally until the data are ready for submission, allowing for offline capturing even in a web browser. Because the online forms are access-controlled, based on roles and tenants, data security is enhanced, and only authorised personnel can access highly sensitive data. All data captured are validated on the capture form to improve data quality and accuracy

Additonally, we have successfully implemented functionality that allows Lynx eHealth to work offline to assist TB programmes that operate in conditions with intermittent or limited internet connection. Users can capture all their work while the device is offline, and automatically submit captured data once an internet connection is available to the data warehouse.

Lynx-HCF

Through Lynx HCF, doctors and nurses can manage patients remotely using mobile or web devices and monitor patient records with real-time data. Designed as a cloud-based software, we have customised Lynx-HCF to feature a TB-focused clinical workflow that enables healthcare providers to conduct TB screening and assessments, capture radiology images (DICOM) into the electronic medical record (EMR), facilitate HIV and STI counselling and testing, monitor follow-up for adherence, consult virtually with patients, and make referrals for follow-up services from using only one system.   

What separates Lynx-Health and Lynx-HCF is the fact that Lynx Health is purely a data collection software platform that streamlines data capturing at the point of care and is suitable for healthcare workers and lay counsellors, while Lynx- HCF is a doctor/nurse focused system that is built to manage patient records.

Upon capturing patient data and radiology images (DICOM) into the EMR, the consulting doctor can access a full overview of the patient’s history, symptoms, and X-Ray results. Furthermore, the system allows multiple users to contribute to patient records irrespective of their location. In the event of a radiologist being offsite, a full view of the patient’s history and X-Ray’s can be accessed online and allows for complete findings using a digital report. Digital reports that are generated within Lynx-HCF are electronically shareable with authorised parties.

As Lynx HCF is designed with a fully-fledged EMR, the system features a TB clinical workflow that digitally captures:

·       Patient Details, Biometrics Etc.

·       History

·       Vitals (Blood Pressure, Glucose Levels, BMI, Heart Rate, Respiratory Rate, Etc.)

·       Examination results (General, Eye, Ear, Pregnancy, Cardio, Dentistry, Etc.)

·       Diagnoses

·       Treatments (Medication, Procedures & Immunizations)

·       Electronic Referrals, Sick Letters and Certificates of Fitness

·       Electronic Prescriptions

·       Patient Management and Intelligent Notification Services

·       Digital Cabinet

·       Clinical and Statistical Reporting

 

It also features:

 

·       A rapid HIV screening and testing module.

·       A TB, Malaria, and STI screening module.

·       A COVID-19 symptom screening module.

·       An integrated GBV screening and assessment module.

 

High-Impact Programme Performance with Knowledge Center

Both Lynx Health and Lynx HCF utilise Knowledge Center to produce reports and interactive dashboards that are dynamic to ensure relevant, accurate, and valid information for reporting. By harnessing the power of real-time analytics, TB programme managers and funders can develop response activities that help reduce the TB burden, promote quality care, and improve TB-related service delivery.

Knowledge Center utilises business intelligence tools to produce dynamic visual reports that update in near real-time— giving the most up-to-date insights for effective monitoring at patient and programme level. Because Knowledge Center provides centralised data warehousing and reporting services, it offers several key advantages for TB programme M&E teams. Data quality and data security are enhanced by housing all data in one central data warehouse hosted within the only USFDA, CE and HIPAA certified hosting environment in the world that also has strict access controls in placeMicrosoft Azure.

Automated reporting reduces the burden on M&E staff to manually create and update data visualisations like graphs and tables. M&E staff can spend more time interrogating the data and advising TB program staff on data-driven decision making and less time on data cleaning and report creation. One common challenge in M&E is that standard reporting templates are adhered to, which makes it difficult to compare data from different regions or implementing partners. However, the standardisation of reports available in Knowledge Center ensures that monitoring can be conducted from facility level and rolled up and consolidated to a national level without any additional effort or data manipulation.

 

 

 

1.     World Health Organisation (2014). Global Strategy and Targets for Tuberculosis Prevention, Care and Control after 2015. 1st ed. [online] WHO, p.7. Available at: https://www.who.int/tb/strategy/End_TB_Strategy.pdf?ua=1 [Accessed 19 Mar. 2021].

 

2.     Theron, G., Jenkins, H.E., Cobelens, F., Abubakar, I., Khan, A.J., Cohen, T. and Dowdy, D.W. (2015). Data for action: collection and use of local data to end tuberculosis. The Lancet, 386(10010), pp.2324–2333.

 

 

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Qode Health Solutions is a private company registered in South Africa with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CPC). Qode's majority share holders is vested in Non-profit organisations and fall part of one of 4 group technology-based companies located in Gauteng.