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Discussion Briefs

GHDonline Discussion Briefs are free, peer-reviewed summaries of key points and delivery challenges addressed in our community discussions and Expert Panels.

GHDonline Discussion Briefs feature:

  • Clearly written, concise summaries ideal for sharing and referencing.
  • A synopsis of best practices and innovative approaches shared by members who bring expertise from diverse settings and a wide range of professional experience.
  • A collection of significant resources for further research.

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Highlighted Discussion Brief:

Improving Equity through Health IT in the US and Internationally
The issue of rising income inequity is one of global concern. Many policymakers seek to understand how to bridge this gap. This panel looked at how health IT ameliorates or deepens these health inequalities both in the US and low and middle-income countries (LMICs), and what can be done to decrease these inequalities.
Adherence & Retention
September 19 - 23, 2011 | [ARCHIVED] Adherence & Retention community
Members discuss barriers to HIV care as well as high and low tech solutions currently being tested to increase linkage and retention to HIV care in low resource settings.
September 21, 2009 | [ARCHIVED] Adherence & Retention community
Members shared their experiences addressing patient adherence challenges related to the chronic side effects of Antiretroviral therapy (ART).
July 10, 2009 | [ARCHIVED] Adherence & Retention community
Members participating in this discussion exchanged resources and advice on how to adapt peer education training and materials to different settings.
May 5, 2009 | [ARCHIVED] Adherence & Retention community
In this discussion, members exchange information about new and ongoing studies on PP interventions in naïve HIV positive populations for risk reduction in South Africa, Uganda, Rwanda, Canada and the US.
August 21, 2008 | [ARCHIVED] Adherence & Retention community
Members debate how to define LTFU in program evaluations and analyses of adherence by sharing their experiences in the field and key references.
Endemic Non-Communicable Diseases
November 18 - 22, 2013 | Endemic Non-Communicable Diseases community, Young Professionals Chronic Disease Network community
Members discussed existing models of integration, highlighted pros and cons, and discussed the potential for Health IT with in a virtual Expert Panel organized as part of the US Communities Initiative.
June 17 - 24, 2011 | Endemic Non-Communicable Diseases community
Researchers, doctors, business consultants, and other professionals discussed the challenges to expand funding for NCDs and examined ways that the public and private sectors can forge integrated solutions to address the pressing NCD challenges.
February 18, 2011 | Endemic Non-Communicable Diseases community
Members discuss common NCDs in their communities, as well as a number of challenges to identifying and treating these diseases in resource-limited settings.
Global Health Nursing & Midwifery
September 19 - 23, 2011 | Global Health Nursing & Midwifery community
Discussion focused on clinical mentoring initiatives for nurses and touched upon issues ranging from monitoring and evaluation to integration in the health system.
April 11 - 15, 2011 | Global Nursing & Midwifery community
Through this online discussion, nurses working globally exchanged tools and lessons learned while trying to prepare patients to begin life-long medication adherence.
Global Surgery & Anesthesia
February 6 - 10, 2012 | Global Surgery & Anesthesia community
Members discussed contextually appropriate surgical training programs, delving deeper into the challenges of providing surgical training for non-physicians, creating incentives for clinicians to train in surgery, and generating and sustaining political commitment to surgical training.
April 11 - 15, 2011 | Global Surgery & Anesthesia community
Drawing from examples of successful and unsuccessful attempts to provide prehospital care in numerous countries, members suggested methods for evaluating and tracking training programs, as well as ensuring their success and sustainability.
March 28 - April 1, 2011 | Global Surgery & Anesthesia community
A host of clinicians described the characteristics of successful, egalitarian partnerships, the infrastructure required, and common challenges. They offered suggestions to develop and measure sustainable, equitable training and research partnerships to enable to delivery of quality surgery and perioperative care in resource-limited settings.
Health IT
March 30 - April 4, 2014 | Health IT community, Innovating Health Care Delivery community
This panel looked at how health IT ameliorates or deepens health inequalities both in the US and low and middle-income countries (LMICs), and what can be done to decrease these inequalities.
October 28 - November 1, 2013 | Health IT community, Innovating Health Care Delivery community
As part of the US Communities Initiative, panelists discussed information technologies (IT) in this Expert Panel and how they can properly facilitate and enhance patient-centered care, surrounding health technologies for providers to highlight the many tools, and innovative technologies available to clinicians.
July 8 - 12, 2013 | Health IT community, MDR-TB Treatment & Prevention community
This Expert Panel focused on the eCompliance system, a biometrics monitoring system developed and run by Operation ASHA in India in partnership with Microsoft Research and India’s National TB Control Programme since 2005.

Learning y Tu: Impacto y Posibilidades en eSalud
July 9 - 13, 2012 | Health IT community
Conversation focused on the ways eLearning affects education and learning, as well as the possibilities it holds for development and training both at the personal and organizational levels for those working in global health IT.

Panel de Implementadores de OpenMRS: Experiencias y Lecciones Aprendidas
May 14 - 18, 2012 | Health IT community
The panel centered on the experiences of the OpenMRS platform's surrounding community of users including the challenges they encountered implementing the platform in resource-constrained settings, as well as the benefits they’ve found.
February 20 - March 2, 2012 | Health IT community
Participants laid out lessons learned so far in telemedicine, its benefits, and what existing projects or services are available in which organizations and individuals can participate.
February 20 - March 2, 2012 | Health IT community
Members suggested possible solutions to the challenges associated with establishing unique patient identifiers (UPI) in resource-limited settings and provided tips for implementation of UPI programs in different settings.
November 15 - 19, 2010 | Health IT community
Participants discussed the limitations of a technological approach, under-explored opportunities, and expanded the discussion to address challenges and solutions in the delivery of Directly Observed Treatment Short course for tuberculosis.
July 19 - 30, 2010 | Health IT community
Members examined the benefits and challenges associated with local organizations creating and maintinaing health software by sharing lessons learned from successful and unsuccessful global projects.
April 19 - 20, 2010 | Health IT community
Beginning as a panel on lessons learned for health IT from post-earthquake Haiti, this discussion quickly centered on data collection systems implementation and interoperability of reporting mechanisms.
April 12, 2010 | Health IT community
Members provide a list of requirements and systems available for the collection and sorting of demographic information about patients, their follow-up plans, the distribution of non-food items and vulnerability indices using mobile devices.
November 29, 2009 | Health IT community
This discussion focuses on the use of SMS technologies for drug supply chain management in which members in India, Malawi, and the United States share experience with specific advocacy campaigns.
February 21, 2009 | Health IT community
Started by a community member working in Nicaragua to implement a community-based health care model where a health team consisting of a physician, a nurse and an auxiliary nurse are in charge of a population of 2000 people, this discussion centers on the pros and cons of using low cost laptops for Community Health Workers.
February 21, 2009 | Health IT community
In this discussion, members shared various solutions for navigating solar-powered or solar set-ups for wireless routers to connect remote sites to the Internet, explaining set-ups for sites in Malawi, Uganda, and Mozambique, and also recommended vendors.
HIV Treatment & Prevention
August 12 - 16, 2013 | HIV Treatment & Prevention community, Malaria Treatment & Prevention community, MDR-TB Treatment & Prevention community
This discussion examined the current status, challenges and prospects of opportunities for endemic country scientists.
March 7 - 11, 2011 | HIV Treatment & Prevention community
Members discussed issues related to and tactics to improve adherence, risks and benefits of PrEP implementation, and topic areas for future research, including cost effectiveness, long-term safety and efficacy, different formulations and varying delivery strategies.
Innovating Health Care Delivery
March 30 - April 4, 2014 | Health IT community, Innovating Health Care Delivery community
This panel looked at how health IT ameliorates or deepens health inequalities both in the US and low and middle-income countries (LMICs), and what can be done to decrease these inequalities.
October 28 - November 1, 2013 | Health IT community, Innovating Health Care Delivery community
As part of the US Communities Initiative, panelists discussed information technologies (IT) in this Expert Panel and how they can properly facilitate and enhance patient-centered care, surrounding health technologies for providers to highlight the many tools, and innovative technologies available to clinicians.
Malaria Treatment & Prevention
August 12 - 16, 2013 | HIV Treatment & Prevention community, Malaria Treatment & Prevention community, MDR-TB Treatment & Prevention community
This discussion examined the current status, challenges and prospects of opportunities for endemic country scientists.
April 1 - 5, 2013 | Malaria Treatment & Prevention community
This discussion outlined some important steps in further promotion of classical malaria control methods involving physical, biological and community approaches, with an emphasis on the value of community participation as a basic requirement for success.
January 7 - 11, 2013 | Malaria Treatment & Prevention community
A dramatic decrease in Malaria cases has been sustained in Macha, Zambie. This discussion with Dr. Thuma featured the cooperation with the local community and the ownership by the community of the work. Now Dr. Thuma wants to “take what we’ve learned and expand” beyond Macha.
June 25 - 29, 2012 | Malaria Treatment & Prevention community
Members discussed anti-vector interventions and their contribution to the distribution of insecticide-resistant mosquitoes, as reported in Nature, which put gains in jeopardy.
July 5 - 20, 2011 | Malaria Treatment & Prevention community
Members and panelists addressed many challenges in this three-part discussion: interpreting test results in context; the impact of RDTs on the behavior of health care providers; the implications of the WHO “test and treat” guidelines; as well as regulations and procurement issues.
December 7, 2009 | Malaria Treatment & Prevention community
Members representing a broad range of health professions and organizations spanning four continents (Asia, Africa, North America and Europe) discuss challenges in misdiagnosis and presumptive treatment, as well as policy, training, and behavior change.
MDR-TB Treatment & Prevention
August 12 - 16, 2013 | HIV Treatment & Prevention community, Malaria Treatment & Prevention community, MDR-TB Treatment & Prevention community
This discussion examined the current status, challenges and prospects of opportunities for endemic country scientists.
July 8 - 12, 2013 | Health IT community, MDR-TB Treatment & Prevention community
This Expert Panel focused on the eCompliance system, a biometrics monitoring system developed and run by Operation ASHA in India in partnership with Microsoft Research and India’s National TB Control Programme since 2005.
December 10 - 14, 2012 | MDR-TB Treatment & Prevention community
Discussion was dominated by an ethical dilemma: should the use of GeneXpert MTB/RIF be extended to locations without access to proper treatment drugs?
May 9 - 20, 2011 | MDR-TB Treatment & Prevention community
Experts discussed the feasibility of implementing GeneXpert MTB/RIF in countries with limited resources with GHDonline members from around the globe.
May 8, 2009 | MDR-TB Treatment & Prevention community
Members discussed scale up of MDR-TB services and the lack of vital psychosocial support, a crucial component of treatment for MDR-TB in order to ensure completion of complicated treatment regimens and enable rehabilitation after treatment.
March 9, 2009 | MDR-TB Treatment & Prevention community
In this discussion, members exchange recommendations and key references that inform the minimal volume of specimens for lab smear, culture and drug susceptibility testing needed in order to maintain lab proficiency.
December 25, 2008 | MDR-TB Treatment & Prevention community
Many factors aside from access to second-line drugs are key to MDR-TB treatment. In this panel, members discussed the need for providers to work with their National TB Programs (NTPs) in order to build a sustainable and effective delivery system that allows for better patient retention thus preventing more drug resistance and poor treatment outcome.
December 8, 2008 | MDR-TB Treatment & Prevention community
In this dialogue, moderators and members clarified the meaning of “culture conversion at 6 months,” date of sputum conversion and time to conversion, but also shared important distinctions between the use in clinical care versus evaluations of program performance.
TB Infection Control
January 12, 2010 | TB Infection Control community
In this discussion, GHDonline members and moderators exchange knowledge on the appropriate way to dispose of sputum collected in homes of infectious TB patients to control transmission.
September 9, 2009 | TB Infection Control community
This discussion began to address the many important practical questions raised in the TB Infection Control community regarding the role and use of respirators in TB infection control.
September 9, 2009 | TB Infection Control community
A member working in Lesotho on an HIV program where 80% of patients are also diagnosed with TB asked members how health facilities operating without electricity can reduce nosocomial TB infections in cold climates where the most common heat source is charcoal stoves.
June 23, 2009 | TB Infection Control community
Started with a question on the relative effectiveness of “fit testing” and “user seal checking” (previously referred to as “fit checking”), members and moderators exchange information resources and discuss fit testing and user seal checking methods and uses for various respirators.
August 1, 2009 | TB Infection Control community
This discussion covers the precautions that should be taken to prevent TB infection of people involved in transporting patients, and to maintain the integrity of the sputum sample during transportation.
June 5, 2009 | TB Infection Control community
In this discussion, GHDonline members and moderators exchange knowledge on designing isolation rooms that maximize ventilation for patients with drug-resistant TB in areas with limited resources.
May 5, 2009 | TB Infection Control community
In this discussion, members confer about useful interventions, especially triage strategies, to prevent the transmission of TB indoors and in congregate settings with few resources, such as makeshift TB-HIV clinics in local churches in sub-Saharan Africa.
March 9, 2009 | TB Infection Control community
Especially relevant to community-based tuberculosis programs with patients in with single-room homes, this discussion covers a range of interventions to reduce risk of transmission between start of treatment and sputum culture conversion, highlightinh the need for new approaches for cases in cold climate areas where home ventilation is very difficult due to heat loss.
December 15, 2008 | TB Infection Control community
In this discussion, members on four continents shared protocols and recommendations for outdoor sputum induction (OSI) that address environmental considerations, time needed between inductions, and precautions for health workers.
Sitewide
October 28 - November 1, 2013 | Sitewide
GHDonline organized a panel of experts in collaboration with the 2013 Connected Health Symposium, as part of the US Communities Initiative. Panelists discussed information technologies (IT) and how they can properly facilitate and enhance patient-centered care, as well as how to measure the impact of these applications.
September 9 -13, 2013 | Sitewide
Members shared their expertise in five areas related to management: the importance of management, what management duties entail, the skills or capacities managers need, external influences on management, and potential interventions to address management challenges.
February 25 - March 1, 2013 | Sitewide
Members offered input on various labratory challenges including shortages of skilled staff, poor funding, a failure to meet safety standards and thus fail accreditation, and weak supply chain management systems.
November 7 - 11, 2011 | Sitewide
Panelists and members addressed the necessary elements of partnerships between NGOs and Ministries of Health; the challenges of administering joint programs; ways NGOs can build local human resource capacity; partnering with the public sector to meet infrastructure needs; and examples of successful partnerships.

GHDonline Discussion Briefs are written and reviewed by our expert moderators, community members, and GHDonline staff.
Many thanks to all who have contributed and made these Discussion Briefs possible.