Vantage Health Technologies and the Institute of Human Virology of Nigeria team up to fight HIV

There are an estimated 38 million HIV-positive people worldwide. Early detection of the disease is very important not only for the comfort of patients, but also to prevent the spread of this virus, as well as to ensure that patients receive treatment on an ongoing basis. Vantage Health Technologies and the Institute of Human Virology of Nigeria (IHVN) have teamed up to create an AI-based solution: the “Vantage Patient Retention Solution” that can predict whether AIDS patients will stop treatment, in which case to encourage them to pursue it.

Vantage Health Technologies, the BroadReach Group platform created by Dr. John Sargent and Dr. Ernest Darko, is dedicated to developing solutions to the world’s toughest health challenges to close health inequalities.

Two doctors say:

“Our dream is to give everyone in the world access to quality health care. Many healthcare systems are set up to treat people after they get sick, but we believe the best approach to healthcare is to prevent serious illness by changing the system. We gave up our medical careers and became systems doctors: the band BroadReach was born. »

AI to fight HIV

When BroadReach was created some 20 years ago, HIV was a major problem in South Africa, with 38.5% of adults testing positive. The company was founded there with the financial support of USAID, the US Agency for International Development, responsible for economic development and humanitarian assistance around the world.

The data was collected on paper, very difficult to use. So they created Vantage Health Technologies and thanks to AI they were able to connect data from 1200 hospitals. Today, 2.4 million cases are processed on this cloud platform powered by Microsoft Azure.

Vantage Patient Retention Solution

In sub-Saharan Africa, there are 25 million HIV-positive people, or 67% of patients worldwide. However, 8.1 million people do not suffer from viral depression, despite the fact that antiretroviral therapy will reduce their health exposure to the virus and reduce the risk of transmission of the virus.

The Vantage solution, funded by a grant from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, enabled IHVN to predict and positively influence the behavior of high-risk HIV patients. According to Annika Lindorsson Krugel, Head of Solutions at Vantage Health Technologies, “Collaboration between public health partners, combined with the use of state-of-the-art artificial intelligence technology, is proving to be a highly effective method to improve outpatient HIV/AIDS retention.”

She states:

In sub-Saharan Africa, the burden of disease and treatment challenges has made the use of technology and partnerships to improve care even more important. »

The collaboration between Vantage Health Technologies and IHVN included a pilot implementation at three sites in Nigeria, during which implementation teams were able to keep 91% of high-risk patients on HIV treatment.

A machine learning-based model uses patient history data to predict whether they will miss their next clinic visit and therefore not be able to pick up their medications, which would mean stopping treatment.

The lists of these patients are passed on to the medical staff, who then intervene to ensure that patients do not miss their next appointment: SMS messages, calls and home visits are arranged to ensure personalized attention to each patient prior to their admission to the clinic.

Barriers to continuing treatment

The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice conducted an independent evaluation of the patient retention model: it analyzed eight months of data from three Nigerian centers and concluded that stigma, side effects, logistical problems, economic barriers and forgetfulness were the main barriers to treatment adherence .

According to this study, patients were able to overcome these barriers with the help of carers, support from their peers, and understanding of their situation. According to the institute, cultural sensitivity, constant contact with patients who have trusting relationships, and support for large-scale development initiatives from local teams have all contributed to the program’s success.

The Vantage Patient Retention Solution has been successfully implemented in HIV treatment and care programs in Nigeria and South Africa.

Annika Lindorsson Krugel says:

The solution is a cutting-edge illustration of what can be achieved when artificial intelligence is used to manage human activities. »