Implementation of an electronic patient-reported measure of barriers to antiretroviral therapy adherence with the Opal patient portal: Protocol for a mixed method type 3 hybrid pilot study at a large Montreal HIV clinic


Adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) remains problematic. Regular monitoring of its barriers is clinically recommended, however, patient-provider communication around adherence is often inadequate. Our team thus decided to develop a new electronically administered patient-reported outcome measure (PROM) of barriers to ART adherence (the I-Score) to systematically capture this data for physician consideration in routine HIV care. To prepare for a controlled definitive trial to test the I-Score intervention, a pilot study was designed. Its primary objectives are to evaluate patient and physician perceptions of the I-Score intervention and its implementation strategy.


This one-arm, 6-month study will adopt a mixed method type 3 implementation-effectiveness hybrid design and be conducted at the Chronic Viral Illness Service of the McGill University Health Centre (Montreal, Canada). Four HIV physicians and 32 of their HIV patients with known or suspected adherence problems will participate. The intervention will involve having patients complete the I-Score through a smartphone application (Opal), before meeting with their physician. Both patients and physicians will have access to the I-Score results, for consideration during the clinic visits at Times 1, 2 (3 months), and 3 (6 months). The implementation strategy will focus on stakeholder involvement, education, and training; promoting the intervention’s adaptability; and hiring an Application Manager to facilitate implementation. Implementation, patient, and service outcomes will be collected (Times 1-2-3). The primary outcome is the intervention’s acceptability to patients and physicians. Qualitative data obtained, in part, through physician focus groups (Times 2–3) and patient interviews (Times 2–3) will help evaluate the implementation strategy and inform any methodological adaptations.


This study will help plan a definitive trial to test the efficacy of the I-Score intervention. It will generate needed data on electronic PROM interventions in routine HIV care that will help improve understanding of conditions for their successful implementation.

Clinical trial registration identifier: NCT04702412;

Auteur(s) : Engler, K., & al.