Formal Hepatitis C virus (HCV) education improves HCV knowledge but the impact on treatment uptake and outcome is not well described.
Dr Samali Lubega and colleagues from California, USA evaluated the impact of formal HCV patient education on primary provider-specialist HCV comanagement and treatment.
Primary care providers within the San Francisco safety-net health care system were surveyed and the records of Hepatitis C virus-infected patients before and after institution of a formal Hepatitis C virus education class by liver specialty were reviewed retrospectively.
The team identified 118 patients who received anti-Hepatitis C virus therapy with a mean age of 51, of which 73% males, and ~50% White and uninsured.
The reserach team found that the time to initiation of Hepatitis C virus treatment was shorter among those who received formal education.
When controlling for age, gender, race and HCV viral load, non-1 genotype and receipt of Hepatitis C virus education were associated with sustained virologic treatment response.
Among 94 provider respondents , the mean age was 42, and 63% were female.
Most providers agreed that the HCV education class increased patients' Hepatitis C virus knowledge , interest in Hepatitis C virus treatment , and provider-patient communication.
A positive provider attitude was independently associated with referral rate to education class.
Dr Lubega's team concludes, "Formal HCV education expedites HCV therapy and improves virologic response rates."
"As primary care provider attitude plays a significant role in referral to HCV education class, improving provider knowledge will likely enhance access to HCV specialty services in the vulnerable population."