Elimination of chronic hepatitis C (HCV) will require scaling up treatment, including possible HCV treatment by primary care providers. The District of Columbia (DC) has a substantial population living with untreated hepatitis C, and treatment expansion would benefit the resident population. The aim of this study was to assess the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of primary care providers and specialists related to hepatitis C screening and treatment. We conducted a prospective, online survey of physicians and nurse practitioners (n = 153) in DC on their knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors related to hepatitis C screening and treatment, as well as referral patterns, interest in learning, and preferred learning modalities. We compared responses by provider type. Key findings indicated that HCV screening and treatment knowledge was higher among specialty physicians as compared to primary care providers. The most common reported facilitators of HCV screening included a prompt in the electronic medical record (63%), patient education (57%), and support staff (41%). While 71% reported that HCV treatment was important in the community they serve, only 26% indicated that access to HCV specialist expertise and consultation was a major area of need. Additionally, 59% reported that they refer all HCV patients to specialists for treatment. Primary care providers in DC had moderate interest in learning how to treat chronic hepatitis C, but they need additional training. Patients are typically referred to gastroenterology, infectious diseases, and hepatology specialists who may have limited capacity to expand treatment.
- Business of Medicine
- Doctor’s Voice