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Primary Care and Hepatology Provider-Perceived Barriers to and Facilitators of Hepatitis C Treatment Candidacy and Adherence.

Rogal SS, McCarthy R, Reid A, Rodriguez KL, Calgaro L, Patel K, Daley M, Jonassaint NL, Zickmund SL. Primary Care and Hepatology Provider-Perceived Barriers to and Facilitators of Hepatitis C Treatment Candidacy and Adherence. Digestive diseases and sciences. 2017 Aug 1; 62(8):1933-1943.

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BACKGROUND: Provider perceptions regarding barriers to and facilitators of hepatitis C (HCV) treatment initiation and adherence have not been fully evaluated in the interferon-free treatment era. New treatments have provided opportunities for non-specialists to treat HCV, underscoring the importance of understanding primary care provider (PCP) and specialist perspectives. METHODS: Based on qualitative sampling principles, 12 PCPs and 12 hepatology providers (HPs) from the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System completed audio-recorded semi-structured interviews. Qualitative analysts coded perceived barriers and facilitators from the interviews with 100% double coding. Codes were thematized and analyzed using Atlas.ti. RESULTS: Key barriers to treatment described by HPs and PCPs included patients' substance use disorders, mental health, transportation availability, history of non-adherence, and concern about side effects. PCPs also focused on medication cost as a system-based barrier. The main facilitators of treatment initiation and adherence described by both HPs and PCPs were provider education and encouragement. HPs focused almost exclusively on provider-based facilitators, while PCPs noted patient-based facilitators including past adherence, media exposure to information about HCV medications, a desire to clear the virus, and positive feedback regarding treatment response. CONCLUSIONS: Providers generally focused on perceived patient-level barriers to HCV treatment initiation and adherence, as well as provider-level facilitators; PCPs additionally noted patient preferences and system-level issues that guide decision making regarding treatment initiation. While HPs focused almost exclusively on provider-level facilitators, PCPs additionally focused on patient-level facilitators of treatment. These data provide novel insights and suggest focusing on patient, provider, and system-level strategies to further improve HCV treatment initiation and adherence.

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