SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. health care system’s capacity to treat patients who need hepatitis C treatment has improved since 2014, but it still falls far short of what’s needed, according to an analysis presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.
Despite recent improvements, it would still take at least 6 years to treat the majority of patients in need of hepatitis C therapy, explained Jagpreet Chhatwal, Ph.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. “Even in the [direct-acting antiviral] era, the burden of hepatitis C remains substantial for a disease for which we have a cure.”
To predict trends in hepatitis C treatment, Dr. Chhatwal and his colleagues developed a mathematical model of health care factors, such as changing treatment regimens, screening policies, and widened insurance coverage.
“We wanted to put all of these different components together to project how the disease burden would change in the near future, and how the disease burden would look if we increased the treatment capacity for hepatitis C,” he said.
In an interview, Dr. Chhatwal discussed his findings and how capacity changes could affect the speed with which those in need receive necessary hepatitis C treatment.