Prospective multicenter evaluation of the expert system KABISA TRAVEL in diagnosing febrile illnesses occurring after a stay in the tropics
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Journal of travel medicine. - Hamilton
, p. 386-394
University of Antwerp
Background. KABISA TRAVEL is a clinical decision support system developed by the Institute of Tropical Medicine of Antwerp, Belgium, for the diagnosis of febrile illnesses after a stay in the tropics. This study aimed to compare the diagnostic accuracy of KABISA TRAVEL with that of expert travel physicians. Methods. From December 2007 to April 2009, travelers with fever after a stay in the tropics were included in a multicenter trial conducted in travel referral centers in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and Belgium. Physicians were asked (1) to rank their first assessment diagnoses, (2) to enter in KABISA TRAVEL clinical and laboratory data available within 36 hours, and (3) to interact with the tutor until its final diagnostic ranking. Both physicians and KABISA TRAVEL rankings were then compared with the final diagnosis confirmed by reference methods. The clinical utility was also surveyed. Results. A total of 205 cases with confirmed diagnosis were evaluated (male/female ratio: 1.85; mean age: 35 y). Most patients were western travelers or expatriates (60%) and were returning from sub-Saharan Africa (58%). Travel physicians and KABISA TRAVEL ranked the correct diagnosis in the first place for 70 and 72% of the cases, respectively, and within the top five both for 88% of them. Travel physicians reported having been suggested useful further investigations in 16% of the cases, and having been helped for obtaining the diagnosis in 24%. This was reported more frequently when they had initially missed the diagnosis (suggestion: 48% in missed vs 12% in found diagnoses, p < 0.001; helpful: 48% in missed vs 21% in found diagnoses, p = 0.005). Conclusions. KABISA TRAVEL performed as well as expert travel physicians in diagnosing febrile illnesses occurring after a tropical stay. Clinicians perceived the system as more helpful when they had not immediately considered the correct diagnosis.