Many patients with hepatitis C report getting “lost” in the United States health-care system, according to a study published in Hepatology.
“Our findings show that many hepatitis C virus (HCV) patients are lost at each stage of the health care continuum from screening to disease confirmation to care and treatment,” Kendra Viner, PhD, MPH, of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, said in a journal news release.
To examine how patients with hepatitis C move through the HCV care continuum, Viner and colleagues culled data from 13,596 patients in Philadelphia who tested positive for hepatitis C between January 2010 and December 2013. During that time, just 27% of the patients were in care and 15% had been treated or were receiving treatment, reported the study authors.
“The fact that so few patients with hepatitis C virus are making it to treatment underscores the need to build awareness among at-risk groups of the importance of screening and continued care,” noted Viner.
“It is critical that public health officials and clinicians understand why patients are lost at each stage so that changes can be made to improve care.”