Original Paper

Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 52, Issue 10, pp 2550-2556

A Systematic Review of Provider Knowledge of Hepatitis C: Is it Enough for a Complex Disease?

  • Susan L. ZickmundAffiliated withVA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of MedicineCenter for Health Equity Research and Promotion, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System Email author 
  • , Kyle E. BrownAffiliated withIowa City Veterans Administration Medical Center and Department of Internal Medicine, University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine
  • , Klaus BielefeldtAffiliated withDepartment of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition

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Abstract

As studies indicate that patients with hepatitis C face poor provider knowledge and even stigmatization, we conducted a systematic review of provider knowledge about and attitudes toward hepatitis C. We searched Medline for original studies between 1990 and 2005. Articles were abstracted to define target population, recruitment strategies, study design, and key findings. Twenty-six publications performed in nine countries were identified. Whereas studies demonstrated an understanding of the nature of hepatitis C, significant knowledge deficits existed related to natural history, diagnostic approaches, and treatment. The relevance of simple measures, such as vaccinations against hepatitis A and B, was underappreciated. While providers were aware of risk factors for the disease, there were substantial misperceptions, with 5%–20% of providers considering casual contact as a risk for disease acquisition. We conclude that while healthcare providers understand the nature of hepatitis C, important knowledge gaps persist, which may constitute barriers to appropriate therapy.

Keywords

Hepatitis C Provider Knowledge Attitudes Stigmatization Barriers