Clinical Care Options (CCO) recently announced it is developing a new program to support South African physicians and nurses in the management of HIV-infected and HIV/TB-coinfected patients. This new interactive digital training and certification program called inPractice® Africa will also provide training for HIV nurses.
CCO is a leader in the development of innovative technology, print, and live medical education programs that reach clinicians in 200 countries around the world. Known for its innovative programs and proprietary technology, the company creates original continuing medical education (CME) and information resources designed specifically for healthcare providers in the areas of HIV, hepatology, and hematology/oncology.
The program is made possible by a unique Public Private Partnership Grant from USAID and grants from Abbott (ABT), Gilead (GILD), Janssen (JNJ) and Merck (MRK) pharmaceutical companies. Importantly, inPractice® Africa will be developed in cooperation with two leading South African organizations involved in HIV/AIDS medical education: the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) and the Foundation for Professional Development (FPD).
The mission of inPractice® Africa is to reach HIV-treating physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals in resource-constrained settings and provide relevant, practical training and certification that can improve patient outcomes. Leveraging CCO’s existing inPractice® technology as a base, the program will add new mobile and offline capabilities to accommodate use in areas of Africa with limited or no internet access. The program’s content will also be specifically designed with the support of an African faculty to meet the particular challenges in HIV care experienced across the continent.
“This public-private partnership fits well with PEPFAR’s efforts to increase the number of healthcare professionals, improve their retention in Africa and support task shifting to nurses and other healthcare workers,” said Charles Holmes, MD, Chief Medical Officer of PEPFAR. “We are looking forward to seeing firsthand how this model that includes innovative technology and African curricula can contribute to HIV education, training, and support clinicians in a variety of practice settings.”
The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is the U.S. Government initiative to help save the lives of those suffering from HIV/AIDS around the world. This historic commitment is the largest by any nation to combat a single disease internationally, and PEPFAR investments also help alleviate suffering from other diseases across the global health spectrum. PEPFAR is driven by a shared responsibility among donor and partner nations and others to make smart investments to save lives.
CCO has been creating innovative HIV educational programs for more than 20 years. These programs have been used in more than 200 countries to improve the quality of care and health outcomes in HIV-infected individuals.
“Over the last year, we’ve been on the ground in South Africa, Senegal, and Ethiopia, listening to stakeholders and providers, keen to understand the challenges of managing HIV care on the African continent. The content of inPractice Africa will be a direct reflection of what many providers shared with us, that is, the need for information customized to address common clinical challenges and support task shifting in this setting,” said Jeffrey L. Drezner, MD, PhD, inPractice’s Managing Director. “inPractice® Africa underscores our ongoing commitment to improving global patient care across the spectrum of healthcare.”
The inPractice® clinical decision support tool is already used worldwide and incorporates resources addressing HIV, hematology/oncology, and viral hepatitis. The product serves to translate and distill the constant stream of new research findings into practical knowledge that can be applied in the clinical setting.
“We are excited to support the development and implementation of this pilot to provide a much needed educational technology platform that focuses specifically on both the African digital landscape and the sociocultural aspects of providing care for the men, women and children of Africa,” said Gustaaf Wolvaardt, MD, Executive Director of the Foundation for Professional Development (FPD). He added: “We are committed to ensuring participation and utilization of this invaluable resource by clinicians across the country.”
inPractice® Africa will be available in several forms including online, mobile (for smartphones and tablet computers that are gaining in use among healthcare providers in South Africa), and a version for PCs without an Internet connection. The program will provide structured educational modules that are certified for South African continuing professional development credits with integrated, easy-to-search reference content that facilitates decision making at the point of care. The program will also include access to health information databases specific to South Africa, including practice guidelines and drug reference information.