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Kekkaku. 2014 Apr;89(4):495-502.

[Analysis on workload for hospital DOTS service].

[Article in Japanese]



A directly observed treatment short course (DOTS) trial was launched in Japan in the late 1990s and targeted patients with social depression at urban areas. Based on these findings, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare established the Japanese DOTS Strategy in 2003, which is a comprehensive support service ensuring the adherence of tuberculosis patients to drug administration. DOTS services are initially provided at the hospital to patients with infectious tuberculosis who are hospitalized according to the Infectious Diseases Control Law. After being discharged from the hospital, the patients are referred to a public health center. However, a survey conducted in 2008 indicated that all the patients do not receive appropriate DOTS services at some hospitals. In the present study, we aimed to evaluate the protocols and workload of DOTS at hospitals that are actively involved in tuberculosis medical practice, including DOTS, to assess whether the hospital DOTS services were adequate.


We reviewed a series of articles on hospital DOTS from a Japanese journal on nursing for tuberculosis patients and identified 25 activities regarding the hospital DOTS service. These 25 items were then classified into 3 categories: health education to patients, support for adherence, and coordination with the health center. In total, 20 hospitals that had > 20 authorized tuberculosis beds were selected--while considering the geographical balance, schedule of this survey, etc.--from 33 hospitals where an ex-trainee of the tuberculosis control expert training program in the Research Institute of Tuberculosis (RIT) was working and 20 hospitals that had collaborated with our previous survey on tuberculosis medical facilities. All the staff associated with the DOTS service were asked to record the total working time as well as the time spent for each activity. The data were collected and analyzed at the RIT.


The working times for each activity of the DOTS service for nurses, pharmacists, ward clerks, head nurses, and doctors were 100, 90, 87, 86, and 63 min, respectively. For other professions, including medical social workers, nursing aids, nutritionists, and physical therapists, the working times for each activity of the DOTS service were 31, 18, 10, and 8 min, respectively. The professionals who spent a longer time on health education, support for patient adherence, and coordination with the health center were pharmacists, doctors, and head nurses; nurses, pharmacists, and doctors; and head nurses, doctors, and ward clerks, respectively.


Aging of tuberculosis patients was associated with problems on adherence in many patients, including patients who were not suited for a standard regimen, patients whose activity of daily life had deteriorated due to senile dementia, patients with diabetes mellitus, etc. Smoking cessation and mental care for cases of multi-drug resistant disease are new challenges in tuberculosis patient care. The present study clearly indicated that activities including patient education, support for patient adherence, and coordination with the health center--essential components of the hospital DOTS service according to the Japanese DOTS Strategy--were performed by a team of professionals including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, medical social workers, etc., depending on the features and roles that they serve and the needs of each patient. For good practice of hospital DOTS, it is essential to not only provide DOTS, but also effectively provide individual or group health education and coordinate with health centers, thus aiming towards a better community DOTS service after patient discharge.

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