Appointment Systems Are Essential for Improving Chronic Disease Care in Resource-poor Settings: Learning from Experiences with HIV Patients in Africa
Lessons learned from treating patients with HIV infection can inform care systems for other chronic conditions. For antiretroviral treatment, attending appointments on time correlates with medication adherence; however, HIV clinics in East Africa, where attendance rates vary widely, rarely include systems to schedule appointments or to track missed appointments or patient follow-up. An introduction of low-cost, paper-based patient appointment and tracking systems led to an improvement in timely clinic attendance rates and tracking missing patients. An effective appointment system is critical to managing patients with chronic conditions and can be introduced in resource-limited settings, possibly without having to add staff.