NorthShore University HealthSystem, Evanston, IL, USA.
Portland VA Medical Center and Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, USA.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) testing rates among U.S. birth-cohort patients have been studied extensively, limited data exists to differentiate birth-cohort screening from risk- or liver disease-based testing. This study aims to identify factors associated with HCV antibody (HCV-Ab) testing in a group of insured birth cohort patients, to determine true birth cohort testing rates, and to determine whether an electronic medical record (EMR)-driven Best Practice Alert (BPA) would improve birth cohort testing rates.
All birth-cohort outpatients between 2010 and 2015 were identified. HCV-Ab test results, clinical, and demographic variables were extracted from the EMR, and factors associated with testing were analyzed by logistic regression. True birth-cohort HCV screening rates were determined by detailed chart review for all outpatient visits during one calendar month. An automated Best Practice Alert was used to identify unscreened patients at the point of care, and to prompt HCV testing. Screening rates before and after system-wide implementation of the BPA were compared.
The historic HCV-Ab testing rate was 11.2% (11,976/106,753). Younger age, female gender, and African American, Asian, or Hispanic ethnicity, and medical comorbidities such as chronic hemodialysis, HIV infection, and rheumatologic and psychiatric comorbidities were associated with higher testing rates. However, during the one-month sampling period, true age cohort-based testing was performed in only 69/10,089 patients (0.68%). Following the system-wide implementation of the HCV BPA, testing rates increased from 0.68% to 10.76% (P<0.0001).
We documented low HCV-Ab testing rates in our baby boomers population. HCV testing was typically performed in the presence of known risk factors or established liver disease. The implementation of an EMR-based HCV BPA resulted in a marked increase in testing rates. Our study highlights current HCV screening gaps, and the utility of the EMR to improve screening rates and population health.