Patient outcomes for Hepatitis C (HCV) has dramatically improved thanks to increased screening efforts and the advent of potent antiviral medications. However, many Americans are assumed to be living with HCV without knowing it. Therefore, adults living with HCV must have access to effective screening strategies and a coordinated care system.
This study aimed to assess the effectiveness of a primary care HCV screening education intervention from 2018–2019 to enhance primary care training and patient management following the introduction of a nelectronic medical record EMR screening alert. A stepped-wedge randomized control trial was used to implement an educational screening intervention at 15 primary care practices in high-risk areas for HCV infections.
Sequentially, over the course of 3 months, learners were exposed to 5 new habits as part of the education intervention. The number of patients in the Baby Boomer cohort (those born between 1945 and 1965) was tallied from 3 months before the first practice received the education intervention to 3 months after the last practice received the intervention. The results of the HCV test were the primary measure of success. Using generalized linear mixed models, researchers investigated the possibility that intervention implementation would lead to higher screening rates.
The Baby Boomer cohort saw 85,697 patients over the 15 clinics. Patients in intervention practices were more likely to get HCV screening (β=0.259, P<.001; Odds Ratio [OR] [95%CI] 1.296 [1.098-1.529]). Results also showed that patients in the younger age group of the Baby Boomer generation were more likely to be examined than those in the older age group (β=0.293, P<.001; OR [95%CI] 1.340 [1.251 to 1.436]) and that females were less likely to be screened than males (β=−0.141, P<.001; OR [95%CI] 0.868 [0.813 to 0.927]).
In this study, researchers compared screening rates before and after an educational intervention in response to an EMR alert being triggered. Baby Boomer patients’ HCV screening rates were already higher than average before the education intervention triggered by HCV EMR alarms.