Gov’t Agencies, AMA Tap Telehealth, Other IT To Fight Hepatitis C

June 20, 2014 in News

Two government agencies and a medical association are leveraging health IT to treat hepatitis C and help stem its spread, Health Data Management reports.

Through Project ECHO, CDC has funded programs in Arizona and Utah that use weekly videoconferencing as a way to help increase primary care capacity in predominantly rural areas with specialist shortages (Slabodkin, Health Data Management, 6/19). Through the program, 66 primary care physicians, 93% of whom had no prior experience treating hepatitis C, have received training (Ward/Helwig, “Health IT Buzz,” 6/18).

Second Effort Focuses on Clinical Quality, Support Tools

In conjunction with Project ECHO, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and the American Medical Association are working on a project that:

  • Identifies and tests hepatitis C clinical quality measures;
  • Validates the measures; and
  • Develops corresponding clinical decision support tools to provide treatment guidelines to member caregivers.

Both efforts will use public health data to track the implementation of new interventions. According to Health Data Management, the goal is to test and cure 10,000 patients with hepatitis C and then share lessons with other clinicians (Health Data Management, 6/19).

To reach the that goal, CDC, AMA and ONC are encouraging primary care physicians, academic centers and public health officials to implement the programs’ packages in their communities (“Health IT Buzz,” 6/18).

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