icon-folder.gif   Conference Reports for NATAP  
  The International Liver Congress™
EASL - European Association for the
Study of the Liver
Aug 27-29
Digital ILC 2020
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Very Low Rates of Receiving Antiviral Therapy Among
Treatment - Eligible Chronic Hepatitis B Virus Infected Patients

  EASL 2020
Reported by Jules Levin
Robert J. Wong, M.D., M.S. 1, Mamta K. Jain, M.D., M.P.H2,3, GeorgeTherapondos, M.D., M.P.H. 4, Bolin Niu, M.D. 5, Onkar Kshirsagar, B.S. 6, Mae Thamer. Ph.D. 6 1Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Alameda Health System - Highland Hospital, Oakland, CA; 2Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX; 3Parkland Health and Hospital System, Dallas, TX; 4Multi-Organ Transplant Institute, Ochsner Health System, New Orleans, LA , 5 Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, MetroHealth System, Cleveland, OH, 7Medical Technology and Practice Patterns Institute, Bethesda, MD


only 17.5% received treatment within six months of becoming eligible. Poor adherence to treatment can be another barrier to comprehensive care. "That's where taking a comprehensive approach can help-one that targets providers, disease and health systems, and also invests in patient-centered education and engagement," Wong said. "We used this approach in previous work and found it actually led to better follow-up and improved treatment rates."
Future efforts, according to Wong, likely will include prospective quality improvement studies. "Now that we've identified the problem, we want to evaluate how we can improve this going forward," he said. "So, we and others are planning prospective studies to see how we can better identify, engage and improve treatment rates for these hepatitis B patients. I think these low numbers really scream that we need to invest more resources in addressing the low rates of hepatitis B treatment in safety-net and vulnerable populations."
Sammy Saab, MD, MPH, a professor of medicine and surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, said the results are a call to action to identify barriers to therapy and develop protocols that extend treatment to a broader range of patients with chronic hepatitis B.
"This highlights a missed opportunity and a gap in our delivery of care for hepatitis B patients," Wong said. "We believe this identifies areas where we can develop targeted quality improvement programs to try to address these shortcomings."
Such efforts include improved linkage to care in at-risk populations, increased patient and provider awareness regarding treatment guidelines, and general hepatitis B educational efforts targeted at patients, he said.