Medical Care of Hepatitis B among Asian American Populations: Perspectives from Three Provider Groups
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- Hwang, J.P., Roundtree, A.K., Engebretson, J.C. et al. J GEN INTERN MED (2010) 25: 220. doi:10.1007/s11606-009-1204-5
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Physicians can play a significant role in helping to decrease the hepatitis B virus (HBV) burden among Asian Americans. Few studies have described knowledge and practice patterns in the medical community among different provider types regarding HBV and liver cancer.
Our study explores the HBV beliefs, attitudes and practice patterns of medical providers serving Asian American communities.
We conducted three focus groups with primary care providers, liver specialists, and other providers predominantly serving Asian American community. We asked about practices and barriers to appropriate medical care and outreach.
We moderated three focus groups with 23 participants, 18 of whom completed and returned demographic surveys. Twelve were of Asian ethnicity and 13 spoke English as a second language. Only eight screened at least half of their patients, most (72%) using the hepatitis B surface antigen test.
We used grounded theory methods to analyze focus group transcripts.
Participants frequently discussed cultural and financial barriers to hepatitis care. They admitted reluctance to screen for HBV because patients might be unwilling or unable to afford treatment. Cultural differences were discussed most by primary care providers; best methods of outreach were discussed most by liver specialists; and alternative medicine was discussed most by acupuncturists and other providers.
More resources are needed to lower financial barriers complicating HBV care and encourage providing guideline-recommended screenings. Other providers can help promote HBV screening and increase community and cultural awareness.