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      Virtual Nursing Intervention Adjunctive to Conventional Care: The Experience of Persons Living With HIV


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          Persons living with HIV (PLHIV) must adhere optimally to antiretroviral therapy (ART) on a daily basis and for their lifetime to maintain an undetectable viral load, allowing them to preserve their health. Taking advantage of the opportunity that information and communication technologies provide to broaden intervention modalities and intensify clinical follow-up, a virtual nursing intervention consisting of four interactive computer sessions was developed to empower PLHIV to manage their ART and symptoms optimally. Compared with other types of information and communication technologies-assisted interventions such as text messages, HIV Treatment, Virtual Nursing Assistance and Education (VIH-TAVIE) requires a certain degree of active engagement on the part of the user to develop and strengthen the self-management skills to optimize adherence. After the intervention’s impact on ART adherence was measured quantitatively, a qualitative study was undertaken to describe how users experience the intervention. Understanding how PLHIV perceive being assisted asynchronously by a virtual nurse was of particular interest.


          The objective of the study was to explore and describe how PLHIV experience VIH-TAVIE, that is, receiving customized asynchronous accompaniment via a virtual nurse.


          A qualitative study was conducted with 26 PLHIV (20 men, 6 women) who received all four VIH-TAVIE sessions. Participants had been diagnosed with HIV 14 years earlier on average and had been on ART for a mean period of 10 years. The sessions lasted 20-30 minutes each and were received two weeks apart. They are hosted by a virtual nurse who engages the user in a self-management skills-learning process for the purpose of treatment adherence. Semistructured interviews were conducted lasting 30-40 minutes to get participants to share their experience of the intervention through personal stories and what they thought and felt during their participation. Data were analyzed using Miles and Huberman’s method, by performing these three steps: (1) data reduction (data coding, summaries); (2) data display (in tables and text form); and (3) recontextualization of results.


          Content analysis yielded five themes regarding how PLHIV experience VIH-TAVIE: (1) exposure to the virtual nursing intervention; (2) virtual nurse humanizes experience of the computer-delivered intervention; (3) learner’s experience of the virtual nursing intervention; (4) perceived benefits following participation in the virtual nursing intervention; and (5) relevance of the virtual nursing intervention in relation to the medication management trajectory.


          Analyzing the participants’ experience revealed they found the intervention’s content and format appropriate. To them, the virtual nurse humanized the experience and helped them acquire new skills for achieving optimal ART adherence. Results seem to underscore the importance of offering the intervention to persons who have more problems with drug intake or who are just beginning ART.

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          Most cited references18

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          Adherence to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART): a meta-analysis.

          This meta-analysis synthesizes eighty-four observational studies, conducted across twenty countries, to determine the mean proportion of people who reported ≥90% adherence to prescribed highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and to identify the factors associated with high levels of adherence. Eight electronic databases were searched to locate all relevant studies available by January 2010, which were then coded for sample characteristics and adherence levels. The average rate of reporting ≥90% adherent HAART adherence is 62%. However, this proportion varies greatly across studies. In particular, a greater proportion of individuals maintaining ≥90% adherence to HAART is more likely in studies with higher proportions of men who have sex with men (MSM) and lower proportions of injection drug users (IDU), with participants in an earlier stage of infection, and in studies conducted in countries characterized by lower Human Development Index (HDI) scores.
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            Effects of eHealth Interventions on Medication Adherence: A Systematic Review of the Literature

            Background Since medication nonadherence is considered to be an important health risk, numerous interventions to improve adherence have been developed. During the past decade, the use of Internet-based interventions to improve medication adherence has increased rapidly. Internet interventions have the potential advantage of tailoring the interventions to the needs and situation of the patient. Objective The main aim of this systematic review was to investigate which tailored Internet interventions are effective in improving medication adherence. Methods We undertook comprehensive literature searches in PubMed, PsycINFO, EMBASE, CINAHL, and Communication Abstracts, following the guidelines of the Cochrane Collaboration. The methodological quality of the randomized controlled trials and clinical controlled trials and methods for measuring adherence were independently reviewed by two researchers. Results A total of 13 studies met the inclusion criteria. All included Internet interventions clearly used moderately or highly sophisticated computer-tailored methods. Data synthesis revealed that there is evidence for the effectiveness of Internet interventions in improving medication adherence: 5 studies (3 high-quality studies and 2 low-quality studies) showed a significant effect on adherence; 6 other studies (4 high-quality studies and 2 low-quality studies) reported a moderate effect on adherence; and 2 studies (1 high-quality study and 1 low-quality study) showed no effect on patients’ adherence. However, most studies used self-reported measurements to assess adherence, which is generally perceived as a low-quality measurement. In addition, we did not find a clear relationship between the quality of the studies or the level of sophistication of message tailoring and the effectiveness of the intervention. This might be explained by the great difference in study designs and the way of measuring adherence, which makes results difficult to compare. There was also large variation in the measured interval between baseline and follow-up measurements. Conclusion This review shows promising results on the effectiveness of Internet interventions to enhance patients’ adherence to prescribed long-term medications. Although there is evidence according to the data synthesis, the results must be interpreted with caution due to low-quality adherence measurements. Future studies using high-quality measurements to assess medication adherence are recommended to establish more robust evidence for the effectiveness of eHealth interventions on medication adherence.
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              Computer-based intervention in HIV clinical care setting improves antiretroviral adherence: the LifeWindows Project.

              We evaluated the efficacy of LifeWindows, a theory-based, computer-administered antiretroviral (ARV) therapy adherence support intervention, delivered to HIV + patients at routine clinical care visits. 594 HIV + adults receiving HIV care at five clinics were randomized to intervention or control arms. Intervention vs. control impact in the intent-to-treat sample (including participants whose ARVs had been entirely discontinued, who infrequently attended care, or infrequently used LifeWindows) did not reach significance. Intervention impact in the On Protocol sample (328 intervention and control arm participants whose ARVs were not discontinued, who attended care and were exposed to LifeWindows regularly) was significant. On Protocol intervention vs. control participants achieved significantly higher levels of perfect 3-day ACTG-assessed adherence over time, with sensitivity analyses maintaining this effect down to 70% adherence. This study supports the utility of LifeWindows and illustrates that patients on ARVs who persist in care at clinical care sites can benefit from adherence promotion software.

                Author and article information

                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Research Protocols
                JMIR Publications Inc. (Toronto, Canada )
                Oct-Dec 2015
                20 October 2015
                : 4
                : 4
                : e124
                [1] 1Research Centre of the Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal Research Chair in Innovative Nursing Practices Montréal, QCCanada
                [2] 2Faculty of Nursing Université de Montréal Montreal, QCCanada
                Author notes
                Corresponding Author: José Côté jose.cote@ 123456umontreal.ca
                Author information
                ©José Côté, Geneviève Rouleau, Pilar Ramirez-Garcia, Anne Bourbonnais. Originally published in JMIR Research Protocols (http://www.researchprotocols.org), 20.10.2015.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Research Protocols, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on http://www.researchprotocols.org, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

                : 19 December 2014
                : 25 May 2015
                : 21 July 2015
                : 20 September 2015
                Original Paper
                Original Paper

                medication adherence,anti-hiv agents,internet,hiv infections,nursing research,qualitative research,web-based interventions


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