Early Screenings Boost Hepatitis C Chronic Disease Management

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Early Screenings Boost Hepatitis C Chronic Disease Management

Prompt screenings and earlier fibrosis treatments can benefit hepatitis C patients.

Early screenings and quicker treatments may significantly aid the process of chronic disease management for hepatitis C patients, a new study finds.

Healthcare providers may be wasting their resources on healthcare initiatives focused on screening at-risk populations for specific diseases if comprehensive chronic disease management programs are not in place for the same conditions, reported a new study in The American Journal of Managed Care.

Researchers revealed that there would be an $824 billion increase in social value if more individuals were screened for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, and if those infected patients received fibrosis treatment in the beginning stages of the condition.

When diagnosed patients received treatment in the last two stages of the disease, the net social value decreased to $0.68 billion despite expanding screening policies.

“Increasing screening for HCV [hepatitis C virus] infection may generate considerable value for society, but only when paired with access to treatment at earlier stages of the disease,” stated the study. “This result highlights the importance of implementing policies to ensure patients who receive an HCV-positive diagnosis remain in the healthcare system until they receive treatment and achieve SVR [sustained virologic response].”

Even though an estimated 3.5 million individuals are living with chronic HCV infection in the US, about 50 to 75 percent of infected individuals are still not screened for the condition until serious symptoms develop in the later stages of the disease.

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