This review aimed to assess the effects of reminder systems and late patient tracers on patients' adherence to medical advice (such as attending clinic appointments for taking anti-tuberculosis drugs) and on clinical outcomes (such as cure of tuberculosis) in the following situations: treatment for active tuberculosis; tests for diagnosis of tuberculosis; and treatment to prevent tuberculosis in high-risk individuals. Reminder systems are used before a clinic or drug-collection appointment to remind patients to attend the appointment, or sometimes during treatment at home to remind patients to take their drugs. Late patient tracers are similar interventions undertaken when patients fail to keep an appointment to encourage them to return to treatment. The review found nine trials involving 5257 participants. Six trials assessed reminder systems and three trials assessed the use of late patient tracers. The results from five of the six reminder trials showed benefits. Trials of late patient tracers (home visits and letters) also showed benefits of the intervention in increasing adherence to tuberculosis treatment. Hence, overall, the results showed better outcomes among those patients for whom reminders or late patient tracers were used.
Liu, Q.; Abba, K.; Alejandria, M.M.; Balanag, V.M.; Berba, R.P.; Lansang, M.A.D. Reminder systems and late patient tracers in the diagnosis and management of tuberculosis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2008) (Issue 4) Art. No.: CD006594. [DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006594.pub2]