Task-Shifting: An Approach to Decentralized Hepatitis C Treatment in Medically Underserved Areas

  • Jayasekera C
  • Perumpail R
  • Chao D
 et al. 
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Background: Despite the availability of safe and effective direct-acting antiviral drugs (DAAs), the vast majority of patients with chronic hepatitis C (HCV) in the USA remain untreated, in part due to lack of access to specialist providers. Aims: To determine the effectiveness of DAA-based treatment in medically underserved areas in California, in a healthcare model dependent on task-shifting—wherein a visiting hepatologist assesses patients for treatment eligibility, but subsequent routine follow-up evaluation of patients prescribed treatment is devolved to a part-time licensed vocational nurse under remote supervision of the hepatologist. Methods: We retrospectively determined rates of sustained virologic response 12 weeks after treatment completion (SVR-12), adverse events, and treatment discontinuations in patients who received sofosbuvir-based DAA regimens between December 2013 and November 2014. Results: Despite limited specialist provider involvement in medically underserved areas, all but two of 58 patients completed treatment, and 88 % of patients achieved the curative endpoint of undetectable HCV RNA 12 weeks after completing treatment (sustained virologic response, SVR-12). Almost 80 % of patients with cirrhosis and 85 % of patients with prior treatment experience achieved SVR-12. Conclusions: Treatment effectiveness with sofosbuvir-based regimens in medically underserved areas utilizing task-shifting from a specialist to a mid-level provider is comparable to those achieved in pivotal clinical trials for these regimens, and to “real-world” experiences of tertiary care centers in the USA.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Direct-acting antiviral drugs
  • Hepatitis C
  • Task-shifting
  • Treatment access

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  • Channa R. Jayasekera

  • Ryan B. Perumpail

  • David T. Chao

  • Edward A. Pham

  • Avin Aggarwal

  • Robert J. Wong

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