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NACDS Foundation drives TB testing research initiative
ARLINGTON, Va. – The NACDS Foundation on Thursday announced the launch of its newest research initiative, Improving Access Project: Tuberculosis Testing and Latent Tuberculosis Infection Treatment in Community Pharmacies.
“This study exemplifies key goals of the NACDS Foundation because it seeks to evaluate the impact of enhanced patient access of TB testing on patient outcomes, by engaging healthcare partners to extend the fantastic work of the state health department,” stated Kathleen Jaeger, NACDS Foundation president.
The University of New Mexico has confirmed the participation of seven community pharmacies and will begin rolling out services in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, N.M., as part of the study. Patients who seek care in participating sites will be counseled by trained pharmacists on risk factors and prevention and those with positive test results will enter directly observed therapy immediately after being referred to the New Mexico Department of Health Tuberculosis Program. A 12-week medication regimen and education plan will be provided for patients at no cost—patients will be able to choose whether to receive the treatment services at the health department or one of the participating community pharmacies.
The Foundation study, led by principle investigators at the University of New Mexico, is designed to evaluate the impact of expanding access to community testing for latent tuberculosis infections. The study coincides with a recent recommendation from the United States Preventative Task Force advising that asymptomatic adults at higher risk for LTBI should be screened in primary care settings.
The goal of this collaborative project is two-fold: (1) to survey patients and understand their healthcare experience and perception of receiving TB testing in the community setting, and (2) to evaluate improved patient health outcomes and access to care when TB testing and LTBI treatment are provided in the community pharmacy setting. The study will explore models to increase patient access to tuberculosis skin tests and immediate follow-up treatment as an effort to limit transmission.
Approximately 12 million individuals in the United States currently have LTBI, which has the potential to develop into a widespread public health issue. This study’s focus on early identification and treatment is a necessary, timely response to an immediate public health need and has potential for broader replication, especially in rural areas impacted by barriers to healthcare.
The study is expected to conclude in September 2017.