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A systematic review of provider knowledge of hepatitis C: is it enough for a complex disease?
Zickmund SL, Brown KE, Bielefeldt K. A systematic review of provider knowledge of hepatitis C: is it enough for a complex disease? Digestive diseases and sciences. 2007 Oct 1; 52(10):2550-6.
As studies indicate that patients with hepatitis C face poor provider knowledge and even stigmatization, we conducted a systematic review of provider knowledge about and attitudes toward hepatitis C. We searched Medline for original studies between 1990 and 2005. Articles were abstracted to define target population, recruitment strategies, study design, and key findings. Twenty-six publications performed in nine countries were identified. Whereas studies demonstrated an understanding of the nature of hepatitis C, significant knowledge deficits existed related to natural history, diagnostic approaches, and treatment. The relevance of simple measures, such as vaccinations against hepatitis A and B, was underappreciated. While providers were aware of risk factors for the disease, there were substantial misperceptions, with 5%-20% of providers considering casual contact as a risk for disease acquisition. We conclude that while healthcare providers understand the nature of hepatitis C, important knowledge gaps persist, which may constitute barriers to appropriate therapy.