Implementing a Hepatitis C Compliance Program
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Background: Hepatitis C virus is a blood borne illness that effects the liver. Untreated hepatitis C virus can lead to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatitis C virus is very treatable with direct acting antiviral agents. Non-compliance with treatment plans for hepatitis C virus can result in uncured patients. Non-compliance has been identified as a major obstacle for patients in their attempts to achieve sustained virologic response.|Methods: This is a quality improvement project that was implemented to remind patients of their hepatitis C appointments and lab work. The five reminders were for initial consultation, initial lab work, follow-up appointment, mid-treatment lab work and SVR lab work. Hepatitis C patients were sent reminders via My Health Online and USPS mail service. This quality improvement project was implemented at a local gastroenterology clinic in Northern California. This clinic is affiliated with a larger health system and includes two physicians and two nurse practitioners.|Results: There was 100% compliance in four out of the five reminder categories; initial consultations, initial lab work, follow-up appointments and SVR lab work. The fifth category, mid treatment lab work had a 50% compliance rate. The previous compliance rates varied based on category, ranging anywhere from 50-83%.|Conclusions: The reminder system improved compliance of the hepatitis C patients in 4 out of the 5 reminder categories, with compliance rates of 100%. The implementation of this reminder system across the healthcare system could potentially improve patient care and outcomes. Attending appointments, completing lab work and taking all medications are imperative to achieve sustained virologic response.
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