Hepatitis B Management in Vulnerable Populations: Gaps in Disease Monitoring and Opportunities for Improved Care
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Hepatitis B (HBV) is prevalent in certain US populations and regular HBV disease monitoring is critical to reducing associated morbidity and mortality. Adherence to established HBV monitoring guidelines among primary care providers is unknown.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate HBV disease monitoring patterns and factors associated with adherence to HBV management guidelines in the primary care setting.
Primary providers within the San Francisco safety net healthcare system were surveyed for HBV management practices, knowledge, attitudes, and barriers to HBV care. Medical records from 1,727 HBV-infected patients were also reviewed retrospectively.
Of 148 (45 %) responding providers, 79 % reported ALT and 44 % reported HBV viral load testing every 6–12 months. Most providers were knowledgeable about HBV but 43 % were unfamiliar with HBV management guidelines. Patient characteristics included: mean age 51 years, 54 % male and 67 % Asian. Within the past year, 75 % had ALT, 24 % viral load, 21 % HBeAg tested, and 40 % of at-risk patients had abdominal imaging for HCC. Provider familiarity with guidelines (OR 1.02, 95 % CI 1.00–1.03), Asian patient race (OR 4.18, 95 % CI 2.40–7.27), and patient age were associated with recommended HBV monitoring. Provider HBV knowledge and attitudes were positively associated, while provider age and perceived barriers were negatively associated with HCC surveillance.
Comprehensive HBV disease monitoring including HCC screening with imaging were suboptimal. While familiarity with AASLD guidelines and patient factors were associated with HBV monitoring, only provider and practice factors were associated with HCC surveillance. These findings highlight the importance of targeted provider education to improve HBV care.
KeywordsHepatitis B Hepatocellular carcinoma Primary care Provider education Practice guidelines Health disparities
Hepatitis B virus
Hepatitis B surface antigen
Hepatitis B e antigen
Hepatitis A virus
Hepatitis C virus
Human immunodeficiency virus
American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases
This work was in part supported by Hepatology Training Grant DK060414 (B.B.), San Francisco General Hospital Foundation Grant (M.K.), K24AA022523 (M.K.) and P30 DK026743 (UCSF Liver Center).
Conflict of interest
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