We at Kaiser Permanente can be proud that our colleagues in the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group (MAPMG) and Mid-Atlantic Permanente Research Institute (MAPRI) have developed a new hepatitis C clinical care screening pathway that is gaining recognition for improving diagnosis and making sure patients don’t fall through the cracks.
The work was so successful that it was published in a leading peer-reviewed journal, Clinical Infectious Diseases, and earned press coverage. Recently, the group learned of a rare and impressive honor: their work — the MAPMG Hepatitis C Screening and Care Pathway — was being commended by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a best practice for Hepatitis care.
Hepatitis C is a disease that has garnered a lot of attention since new, curative drugs have become available. Although a large number of people are recommended for screening (including everyone born between 1945 and 1965), historical screening rates in America have been very low. Screening is a multi-step process that few began and even fewer completed.
In October 2014, Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States launched a comprehensive hepatitis C virus screening model designed to improve detection and treatment of the virus. The model has five primary components:
- Automated electronic medical record best-practice alert to notify providers that patients are recommended for hepatitis C screening because they were born between 1945 and 1965 or they are identified as being at risk for the virus.
- Automated confirmatory laboratory testing for any patient who tests positive for the hepatitis C virus antibody to determine whether or not the person has an active infection. This ensures the patient has a complete diagnosis.
- A hepatitis C care coordinator to assist in ordering follow-up labs, scheduling liver-damage testing, and informing patients of their infection status.
- Integration of a noninvasive, pain-free test for measuring liver damage into the screening process.
- Connecting patients to physicians for ongoing care.
A description of the pathway will be included in the WHO Guidelines on Hepatitis B and C Testing, slated to be published later this year. This program is a collaboration between MAPMG leadership (Bernadette Loftus, MD), physicians (including Gastroenterology physicians Jacquelyn Redd, MD; Dana Sloane, MD; Eric Wollins, MD; and Infectious Disease physicians Peter Kadlecik, MD and Michael Horberg, MD), as well as MAPRI: Cabell Jonas, PhD and Carla Rodriguez, PhD.
MAPMG plans to expand this program in 2017 to include hepatitis B care and hepatocellular carcinoma screening. Clinicians can learn more about the current Hepatitis C Screening and Care Pathway by typing .HCVPATHWAY in HealthConnect.
To see more about this program and prior coverage, follow these links:
Coverage from Kaiser Permanente’s National Site: Click here
Research Paper in the journal, Clinical Infectious Diseases: Click here
Media coverage in Hepatitis News Today: Click here
Blog published in Morning Consult: Click here
Blog published on Center for Total Health website: Click here