Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection poses an immense socioeconomic burden, being a leading cause of liver cancer. A mechanism to identify and manage HCV infections is necessary in medical institutions as prevention of Iatrogenic (medically caused) infections is a key function of hospitals. A multi-disciplinary model, investigating the potential to maximize patient diagnosis and treatment through collective collaboration, was put under scrutiny.
Established in October 2021, this model brought together a multi-disciplinary team to optimize the handling of screening results for patients with Hepatitis C. The primary motive was to ensure prompt and effective diagnosis and treatment for patients, thereby contributing to the eradication of Hepatitis C by 2030 according to the World Health Organization (WHO) goals.
Underscoring its effectiveness, implementation of this model witnessed an encouraging surge in the confirmation rate of Hepatitis C in antibody-positive patients – an increase from 36.426% to 88.737%. Further, the diagnostic accuracy rate grew from 67.456% to 98.113%, and treatment rates jumped from 12.426% to 58.491%. Another remarkable achievement was a significant improvement in the understanding among clinicians about the characteristics of Hepatitis C, its high-risk population, management post-diagnosis, and effective treatments.
The study reaffirmed that the multi-disciplinary approach in medical institutions was a highly influential factor encouraging HCV patients to seek treatment. Further, the strategy of utilizing findings from HCV antibody screening to its maximum potential in patients, is deemed as crucial. This is achieved by facilitating enhanced tracking, referral, and treatment, which can significantly accelerate the timely detection and treatment of Hepatitis C patients. The study also pointed out that embracing this model might be instrumental in eliminating HCV in China.