Avoiding Unnecessary Testing - Removing Barriers for Hepatitis C Treatment

(A report back from Dr Sunil Solomon - Elimination of hepatitis C in people who inject drugs in low and middle income countries: The Final Frontier - The Australasian Viral Hepatitis Conference Day 1)

I really enjoyed Dr Sunil Solomon’s presentation. It was about how GPs can do case finding by finger prick test and confirm Hepatitis C by a blood test. Dr Sunil spoke about avoiding unnecessary testing pre-treatment and during follow up after starting treatment to reduce obstacles for patients and help to achieve the goal of eliminating hepatitis C. 



Dr Sunil mentioned that primary care clinicians can perform point of care blood tests to diagnose and confirm hepatitis C. The importance of this test is that patients can receive diagnosis and treatment in one consultation, so it will obviate the need for another consultation to discuss results and discuss treatment for the patient. Hence it makes access to treatment easier for the patient. 

Secondly, Dr Solomon suggests avoiding unnecessary tests before treatment and during treatment. The reason is that by avoiding these tests patients do not have to come back to the clinic for follow up, thus it can increase their compliance by making treatment simpler for patients. Also, some patients dislike blood tests and ordering unnecessary blood tests will reduce patient’s compliance. 

Last but not the least, Dr Solomon believed that by reducing the treatment course from 12 weeks to 4-6 weeks, it can significantly increase patient compliance with the treatment. 

All in all, I would implement his suggestions as much as I can in my practice to increase patient’s compliance with treatment and help to eliminate hepatitis C in the near future. 



Author bio: 

I am a GP working at Arafura Medical Clinics in Darwin. I have worked for 4 years as a GP in Australia and about 7 years overseas.