"Cough officer screening" improves detection of pulmonary tuberculosis in hospital in-patients

Ching-Hsiung Lin; Cheng-Hung Tsai; Chun-Eng Liu; Mei-Li Huang; Shu-Chen Chang; Jen-Ho Wen; Woei-Horng Chai
January 2010
BMC Public Health;2010, Vol. 10 Issue 1, p238
Academic Journal
Background: Current tuberculosis (TB) reporting protocols are insufficient to achieve the goals established by the Stop TB partnership. Some countries have recommended implementation of active case finding program. We assessed the effect of Cough Officer Screening (an active screening system) on the rate of TB detection and health care system delays over the course of four years. Methods: Patients who were hospitalized at the Changhua Christian Hospital (Changhua, Taiwan) were enrolled from September 2004 to July 2006 (Stage I) and August 2006 to August 2008 (Stage II). Stage II was implemented after a Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle analysis indicated that we should exclude ICU and paediatric patients. Results: In Stage I, our COS system alerted physicians to 19,836 patients, and 7,998 were examined. 184 of these 7,998 patients (2.3%) had TB. Among these 184 patients, 142 (77.2%) were examined for TB before COS alarming and 42 were diagnosed after COS alarming. In Stage II, a total of 11,323 patients were alerted by the COS system. Among them, 6,221 patients were examined by physicians, and 125 of these patients (2.0%) had TB. Among these 125 patients, 113 (90.4%) were examined for TB before COS alarming and 12 were diagnosed after COS alarming. The median time from COS alarm to clinical action was significantly less (p = 0.041) for Stage I (1 day; range: 0-16 days) than for Stage II (2 days; range: 0-10 days). Conclusion: Our COS system improves detection of TB by reducing the delay from infection to diagnosis. Modifications of scope may be needed to improve cost-effectiveness.


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