Northeastern Spotlight

Winter 2017 Volume 12 – Number 3

Training Highlights

Baltimore TB Update: A Gathering on Complex Cases and Potential Solutions

In the photo above: Dr. Maunank Shah at the Baltimore TB Update

In conjunction with the Baltimore City Health Department, GTBI held the Baltimore TB Update, a unique opportunity for participants to learn more about multi-drug resistant (MDR)-TB and an array of patient management strategies.  The conference was held at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD on November 1, 2017.

The shared concepts at this forum were not typical. Topics consisted of analyzing and utilizing contact investigation data through identification of clusters, nursing strategies for management of MDR-TB patients, reducing the impact of MDR-TB in pregnancy, providing individualized, patient-centered case management, and new TB treatments and therapeutics on the horizon. One of the highlights was a case-based approach to legal interventions, in which the audience was polled about a legal dilemma, with feedback on how State law applies to TB control.

The 46 course attendees, from Baltimore and beyond, included physicians, nurses, epidemiologists, and other public health professionals working in TB. The participants strongly felt that the training expanded their knowledge of TB as the course covered a wide variety of topics, including current research on pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of various TB medications and ways to optimize medication dosing, approaches for addressing legal issues that arise in patient care and guidelines for legal authority used to protect the health of the public, tools to evaluate and analyze cluster or outbreak investigations including the use of molecular methods to aid in understanding transmission dynamics, and strategies for implementing individualized case management of a patient with TB, including drug-resistant disease.

The participants expressed that they valued the content, expert presenters, and case studies, which helped cement their knowledge. Many attendees stated they would implement changes in their practice by applying new nursing protocols for DOT, linking with their lab for genotyping, and advocating for more frequent education to better assess and manage patients with MDR/XDR-TB. A day with colleagues in this engaging forum, was well spent by all.

Submitted by Amy Lewis, MPH – Health Educator


Use of EMRs for TB Programs: Benefits and Challenges

As part of patient-centered TB care, it is important for healthcare providers to harness the power of technology in their practice to document various aspects of TB care, enable information sharing, and improve care coordination.

GTBI hosted a national webinar on December 6, 2017 to introduce the topic of Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) and its application in TB programs. Our regional partners expressed interest in an exploratory webinar to get the conversation started on the use of EMRs and this input as well as one-on-one conversations drove the webinar’s content.

The one-hour webinar featured Dr. Michelle Haas from Denver Public Health and Andy Tibbs from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.  Each presenter shared case studies of their specific program experience with EMRs, followed by a moderated discussion by Dr. Amee Patrawalla from GTBI.

The webinar had great response nationally with over 315 physicians, nurses, TB control staff, administrators, and other health professionals joining. Participants commented that the webinar was an effective way of sharing experiences and challenges in implementation of EMRs.

Based on the volume of questions, the webinar barely scratched the surface in terms of addressing EMR-related questions. A majority of the participants indicated that they would like to hear additional aspects of EMR implementation in a future webinar. We hope to address some of the additional needs expressed by attendees in future webinars.

Submitted by Arpita Jindani, MSW, MA – Health Educator