Online Hepatitis C Resource Center created by American Journal of Medicine

Majority of primary care physicians lack confidence in screening patients for HCV, survey finds

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AMJ Hep C Resource CenterA new online Hepatitis C Resource Center will provide the latest information on the screening, diagnosis, treatment and management of Hepatitis C (HCV). Created by the American Journal of Medicine (AJM) and its publisher, Elsevier, the resource center is intended for primary care physicians and specialists but is accessible to the public.

In a survey of primary care physicians (PCPs) who had screened or cared for HCV patients within the last six months, 60 percent confirmed that they were not very confident or only somewhat confident when screening patients for chronic HCV infection. AJM and Elsevier Multimedia Publishing commissioned the survey, which was conducted by Metrics for Learning LLC.

Edward Lebovics, MD"The mandate for population-based screening and the lack of confidence of PCPs to screen highlights an opportunity that can be addressed in our healthcare system by appropriate education," said Dr. Edward Lebovics, Director of the Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatobiliary Diseases New York Medical College and guest editor of the Resource Center.

The survey found that PCPs have misconceptions about whom to screen, the risk of progression of liver disease, and available therapies. Dr. Lebovics said there is a shortage of educational resources to provide healthcare practitioners with the latest information on the screening, diagnosis, treatment and management of HCV.

AJM was encouraged to establish the Resource Center based on the current initiatives focusing on HCV screening and diagnosis, along with the advent of oral interferon (IFN)-free treatment regimens that will be published in AJM's November issue.

About 4.1 million people in the US are infected with HCV. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Preventive Services Task Force published screening recommendations for those born between 1945 and 1965, with several states including New York, Colorado, Connecticut and Massachusetts passing legislation regarding implementation of these recommendations.

Joseph Alpert, MD The AJM Resource Center site has two major channels:

  • One channel has been tailored to the needs of internal medicine physicians and other primary care providers.
  • The second channel addresses needs of specialists, including hepatologists, gastroenterologists and infectious disease specialists.

In addition, the resource center features a video message from Dr. Bryce Smith, a research health scientist at the CDC who leads the Prevention Research and Evaluation Team in the Division of Viral Hepatitis and also serves as CDC liaison to the US Preventive Services Task Force for HCV–related recommendations.

"There is a progressive increase in HCV-associated morbidity and mortality in the US that needs to be addressed now," said Dr. Joseph Alpert, Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Medicine. "It is anticipated that PCPs and community practices will become increasingly responsible for the screening, diagnosis, treatment, and management of infected patients, as well as for providing access to care by specialists when needed. The educational programs, articles, and guidelines contained in this Resource Center are readily available to provide increasingly invaluable HCV disease-state and clinical knowledge to all healthcare providers in hospital- and community-based settings."


Elsevier Connect Contributor

Craig SmithCraig Smith is Senior Editor and Manager of Elsevier's Multimedia Publishing Division in New York. He has served in this capacity for the last 15 years, overseeing sponsored multimedia publishing (e.g., journal-branded webcasts and multimedia resource centers), special issues and print and e-supplements for the US portfolio. Previously, he held various positions in medical publishing with Cahners Publishing, York Publishing and Excerpta Medica.

Outside of medical publishing, Smith serves as President of the Board of Directors of New York's Phoenix Theatre Ensemble and also acts on stage regularly as "one of New York's most consistently fine actors" – The New York Times. He is the recipient of the President of the Borough of Manhattan's Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Arts and Community Service. He lives in Manhattan's East Village with his wife and three teenage children.

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