RESEARCH & EVALUATION

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Research and Evaluation

HealthHCV engages in research to better understand, develop educational materials addressing, and support the development of sound policy to address hepatitis C disease in the United States. Resources, like the infographic below, are currently available in the research portal

The prevalence of hepatitis C (HCV) presents a complex and urgent situation for healthcare providers and the healthcare system. An estimated 3 million people are living with HCV in the United States, and at least 50% of this population does not know that they are infected. From 1999 to 2007, HCV-associated deaths increased 50% in the United States, eventually eclipsing the number of deaths attributable to HIV. HCV also is the leading cause of liver cancer and the number one cause of liver transplants. Despite the increasing burden of illness, HCV remains a “silent epidemic,” eliciting only limited awareness and discussion by the public, policymakers, and even healthcare providers.

In 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released its updated Action Plan for the Prevention, Care, and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis, which asserted the need to improve community awareness and provider education, improve testing, care, and treatment, strengthen public health surveillance, improve HCV preventive services for injection drug users, develop a HCV vaccine, and prevent HCV transmission in healthcare settings. The action of healthcare providers is crucial for the success of these strategies. In conjunction, ongoing health system transformation and medical advances will likely shift the onus of HCV care largely onto primary care.

HealthHCV’s State of HCV Care National Survey

Click here to download HealthHCV’s State of HCV Care national survey.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is streamlining and strengthening primary care practice by establishing an integrated, collaborative, and patient-centered primary care service delivery model. As a result, patients are more likely to turn to their primary care providers for the management of a wider spectrum of care, including the treatment of HCV infection. In addition, development of simplistic medical regimens that are highly effective in curing HCV may bolster the ability of primary care physicians to administer HCV medical care and decentralize the role of specialists in HCV management. Thus, primary care providers must be knowledgeable about populations at risk and be prepared to counsel, test, and treat patients with HCV. In order to assess the landscape of HCV care practices and capacity, HealthHIV and Medscape, LLC distributed the “State of HCV Care National Survey.”

This survey was modeled on HealthHIV’s annual “State of HIV Primary Care Survey.” The survey collected demographic data on both providers and the patient populations they serve, gaps in HCV screening and treatment practices, patient and provider barriers to care, and provider education needs.