Saving Lives: Kaiser Permanente’s Award-winning Hepatitis C Pathway

Saving Lives: Kaiser Permanente’s award-winning Hepatitis C pathway

On November 27, 2018, Kaiser Permanente Mid-Atlantic States was awarded the 2018 James A. Vohs Regional Quality Award for our Hepatitis C Pathway.

Currently, about 3.5 million people in the United States are living with hepatitis C, commonly known as HCV, and roughly half are unaware of their infection. The Pathway was developed to improve screening, diagnosis and triage to treatment.

“Our Hepatitis C Pathway, and tying it to earlier treatments, saves liver transplants,” said Mid-Atlantic Permanente Research Institute Executive Director Michael Horberg, MD. “By treating those patients earlier, those bad outcomes related to hepatitis C – cirrhosis, liver cancer, liver failure – could be prevented.”

Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States developed a technology and care-coordinator supported pathway to improve screening, diagnosis, and triage to treatment. Since implementation, total HCV testing has doubled, and screening among baby boomers (a high-risk group) has grown from 21 to 60 percent.

“There’s no question that the Hepatitis C treatment cascade has simplified my job as a physician, in terms of my ability to take care of these patients earlier and more effectively,” said Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group Baltimore Chief of Gastroenterology Dana Sloane, MD. “Getting these patients screened before they even come into my office, knowing what their fibrosis score is, I’m very well-positioned to give them feedback on, ‘Here’s the status of your liver disease, and here is what we can do for you.'”

As of 2018, 52 percent of HCV infected Kaiser Permanente Mid-Atlantic members have been treated with curative medications and the Pathway has improved quality and patient care.

The James A. Vohs quality award was created to honor the contributions of James A. Vohs and is presented by the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Hospitals Board of Directors annually. The honors, presented in several categories, are a prestigious recognition of work that showcases innovative techniques and knowledge that can be transferred throughout Kaiser Permanente. Criteria for selection included making significant improvements in their focus areas and clearly distinguishing themselves by advancing care or service quality.

You can learn more about our Hepatitis C Pathway here.