There are major shortfalls in the identification and screening of at-risk migrant groups. This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of a new digital tool (IS-MiHealth) integrated into the electronic patient record system of primary care centres in detecting prevalent migrant infections. IS-MiHealth provides targeted recommendations to health professionals for screening multiple infections, including HIV, hepatitis B and C, active tuberculosis, Chagas disease, strongyloidiasis, and schistosomiasis, based on patient characteristics (including variables of country of origin, age, sex).
A pragmatic pilot cluster-randomised controlled trial was deployed from March to December 2018. Eight primary care centres in Catalonia, Spain, were randomly allocated 1:1 to use of the digital tool for screening, or to routine care. The primary outcome was the monthly diagnostic yield of all aggregated infections. Intervention and control sites were compared before and after implementation with respect to their monthly diagnostic yield using regression models. This study is registered on ISRCTN (ISRCTN14795012).
15780 migrants registered across the 8 centres had at least one visit during the intervention period (March to December 2018), of which 14 598 (92.51%) fulfilled the criteria to be screened for at least one infection. There were 210 (2.57%) individuals from the intervention group with new diagnoses compared with 113 (1.49%) from the control group (OR:2.08 95%CI 1.63-2.64, p < 0.001). The intervention centres raised their overall monthly diagnosis rate to 5.80 (95%CI 1.23-10.38, p = 0.013) extra diagnoses compared to the control centres. This monthly increase in diagnosis in intervention centres was also observed if we consider all cases together of HIV, hepatitis B and C, and active TB cases (2.72,[95%CI 0.43-5.00]; p = 0.02) and was observed as well for the parasitic infections´ group (Chagas disease, strongyloidiasis, and schistosomiasis) 2.58 (95%CI 1.60-3.57; p < 0.001).
The IS-MiHealth increased screening rate and diagnostic yield for key infections in migrants in a population-based primary care setting. Further testing and development of this new tool is warranted in larger trials and in other countries.

© International Society of Travel Medicine 2021. Published by Oxford University Press.