Rachel Lutz HCP Live
The investigators measured a 3.5-month period before and after a policy was implemented to preserve hospital resources.
Preserving hospital resources in the face of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has led to gaps in routine coverage, including screening and identifying patients with hepatitis C, according to a paper published in the Journal of Primary Care & Community Health.
A research team from Boston Medical Center said that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to modifications to their health care system, which were designed to preserve resources and decrease ambulatory in-person visits beginning March 16, 2020. The study authors also noted that telemedicine was incorporated into clinical workflows but preventative care, including hepatitis C testing, was not routinely performed.
Thus, the investigators wanted to determine what impact their COVID-19 restructuring response had on hepatitis C testing as well as identification hospital-wide and in ambulatory settings. To do so, they compared unique patient data tests for a period of 3.5 months before and after March 16.
Boston Medical Center described their testing process as utilizing reflex confirmatory testing for hepatitis C, and when a sample is Ab positive, it is automatically sent for RNA and genotype testing. They routinely screen for hepatitis C in the emergency department and their ambulatory clinics, aligned with the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines released in March and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines released in April.
Hepatitis C Ab testing and new hepatitis C RNA identification decreased hospital-wide and in the ambulatory clinics alone after the preservation of resources restructuring took affect on March 16.
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