Project update: The research team discuss what they’ve learned so far.
Hepatitis C is one of the deadliest infectious agents in Canada. It’s responsible for more years of life lost than HIV.
New medications can cure Hepatitis C, but the treatments aren’t being accessed by all who need them, particularly the most vulnerable.
Why? Many family physicians are still not comfortable prescribing these medications. Some patients with Hepatitis C also face difficult life circumstances, such as homelessness and substance use, that can make treatment challenging. The medications are also expensive, and insurance plans don’t always cover them.
Our project will provide a solution to help overcome these barriers to treat Hepatitis C in more patients.
Becoming the first primary-care practice in Canada to cure Hepatitis C among all affected patients.
The St. Michael’s Academic Family Health Team will become the first primary care practice in Canada to cure Hepatitis C among our patients — and share our knowledge across the country.
We will do this over three years, by proactively identifying who needs treatment and systematically reaching out to them with a tailored approach that uses letters, phone calls and case managers.
We will take a team-based approach to treatment, educating physicians and also empowering other health professionals – pharmacists to guide medication prescribing, and social workers and addictions counsellors to support patients who face challenging life circumstances.
Then we will evaluate if this project is successful and which specific elements led to its success. Through qualitative focus groups and interviews with both providers and patients, we will assess if and how the intervention increased their comfort treating Hepatitis C, which supports they found particularly useful and which were less useful, and what other team members they did or did not engage with.
The findings of our qualitative study will inform key ingredients of success and areas of improvements on the intervention which can be spread to other primary care centres. Ultimately, our goal is create a solution that can be used across Canada and beyond to cure more patients of Hepatitis C.
Is your primary care practice interested in curing Hepatitis C?
We would be happy to share our materials with any primary care practice interested in adapting our approach to their setting.
Materials we can share include:
- Our electronic medical record search
- Our internal treatment pathway and tip sheet
- The decision-support tool embedded in our electronic medical record
Patient education materials including posters and pamphlets can be accessed here: https://www.catie.ca/en/hepatitis-c