Background: Following significant changes to the U.S. healthcare system, community health centers and private providers are providing a greater amount of STD screening, treatment and management that, in the past, would have been performed at public health specialty (STD) clinics. However, general healthcare providers without a background in STDs may be unfamiliar with STD treatment protocols and unusual clinical presentations. To assist healthcare providers across the country, the Denver Prevention Training Center (PTC), part of the National Network of STD Clinical Prevention Training Centers (NNPTC), collaborated with the Southeastern National TB Center (SNTC) to modify their tuberculosis clinical consultation database to serve clinicians screening for and treating STDs.
Methods: In 2014, the Denver PTC and SNTC created a regional STD consultation management system modelled on the TB system. The system tracked and facilitated the clinical consultation process from initiation to completion. In 2015, after a year of operating successfully, the system was expanded to serve all 50 states and US territories. Staffed by NNPTC expert faculty, STDCCN provides individual triage and management capabilities for each of the 8 regional centers.
Results: In the six months following national expansion, the STDCCN received 471 requests from around the country. Syphilis was the most frequent topic of consultation making up 41.1% of the requests. Physicians submitted the highest (29.2%) number of requests. Despite outreach to private providers, the majority of requests came from local health departments (31.1%) followed by community health centers (11.7%). The STD consultation program has been successful both as a means of offering clinical consultation, and, importantly, as a way of tracking the consultations and technical assistance delivered by the NNPTC. The Denver PTC and SNTC are expanding the process so that consultation can be initiated from mobile devices.
Conclusions: Web-based processes can help simplify, facilitate and track the process of STD clinical consultation.