, Volume 23, Issue 8, pp 1200-1207
Date: 02 May 2008

A System-wide Intervention to Improve HIV Testing in the Veterans Health Administration

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Abstract

Background

Although the benefits of identifying and treating asymptomatic HIV-infected individuals are firmly established, health care providers often miss opportunities to offer HIV-testing.

Objective

To evaluate whether a multi-component intervention increases the rate of HIV diagnostic testing.

Design

Pre- to post-quasi-experiment in 5 Veterans Health Administration facilities. Two facilities received the intervention; the other three facilities were controls. The intervention included a real-time electronic clinical reminder that encourages HIV testing, and feedback reports and a provider activation program.

Patients

Persons receiving health care between August 2004 and September 2006 who were at risk but had not been previously tested for HIV infection

Measurements

Pre- to post-changes in the rates of HIV testing at the intervention and control facilities

Results

At the two intervention sites, the adjusted rate of testing increased from 4.8% to 10.8% and from 5.5% to 12.8% (both comparisons, p < .001). In addition, there were 15 new diagnoses of HIV in the pre-intervention year (0.46% of all tests) versus 30 new diagnoses in the post-intervention year (0.45% of all tests). No changes were observed at the control facilities.

Conclusions

Use of clinical reminders and provider feedback, activation, and social marketing increased the frequency of HIV testing and the number of new HIV diagnoses. These findings support a multimodal approach toward achieving the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s goal of having every American know their HIV status as a matter of routine clinical practice.