A survey of clinicians who provide opioid agonist therapy (OAT) to people who inject drugs (PWID), showed several areas where self-reported competency in the management and treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) could be improved.
The C-SCOPE study consisted of a self-administered survey among physicians practicing at clinics providing OAT in Australia, Canada, Europe, and the United States during April-May of 2017. Among 203 physicians – 40% in the United States, 45% in Europe, and 14% in Australia/Canada – 21% were addiction medicine specialists, and 29% were psychiatrists.
The majority reported that HCV testing (86%) and treatment (82%) among PWID were important.
The minority reported less than average competence with respect to regular screening (12%) and interpretation of HCV test results (14%), while greater proportions reported less than average competence in advising patients about new HCV therapies (28%), knowledge of new treatments (37%), and treatment/management of HCV (40%). Although a minority of participants self-reported average or less competency related to the ability to ensure regular screening for HCV (34%) and in the ability to interpret HCV test results (39%), more than half of the participants self-reported average or less competency in other areas. These areas included the ability to assess liver disease (52%), the ability to treat HCV and manage side effects (65%), and knowledge of new HCV treatments (64%). This trend was consistent with findings from previous studies among competency related to HCV infection among primary care providers, according to the authors ().
“These low levels of reported competency in HCV management and treatment highlight a critical need for improved HCV education and training in how to manage and treat HCV among PWID,” the researchers concluded.
The authors reported grant funding and consultancy with a number of pharmaceutical companies. Funding was provided by Merck Sharp & Dohme and the Australian government.
SOURCE: Grebely J et al. .