Uptake of hepatitis C screening, characteristics of patients tested, and intervention costs in the BEST-C study

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Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)


From December 2012 to March 2014, three randomized trials, each implementing a unique intervention in primary care settings (repeated mailing, an electronic health record best practice alert [BPA], and patient solicitation), evaluated hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibody testing, diagnosis, and costs for each of the interventions compared with standard-of-care testing. Multilevel multivariable models were used to estimate the adjusted risk ratio (aRR) for receiving an HCV antibody test, and costs were estimated using activity-based costing. The goal of this study was to estimate the effects of interventions conducted as part of the Birth-Cohort Evaluation to Advance Screening and Testing for Hepatitis C study on HCV testing and costs among persons of the 1945-1965 birth cohort (BC). Intervention resulted in substantially higher HCV testing rates compared with standard-of-care testing (26.9% versus 1.4% for repeated mailing, 30.9% versus 3.6% for BPA, and 63.5% versus 2.0% for patient solicitation) and significantly higher aRR for testing after controlling for sex, birth year, race, insurance type, and median household income (19.2 [95% confidence interval (CI), 9.7-38.2] for repeated mailing, 13.2 [95% CI, 3.6-48.6] for BPA, and 32.9 [95% CI, 19.3-56.1] for patient solicitation). The BPA intervention had the lowest incremental cost per completed test ($24 with fixed startup costs, $3 without) and also the lowest incremental cost per new case identified after omitting fixed startup costs ($1691).

CONCLUSION: HCV testing interventions resulted in an increase in BC testing compared with standard-of-care testing but also increased costs. The effect size and incremental costs of BPA intervention (excluding startup costs) support more widespread adoption compared with the other interventions.

Medical Subject Headings

Aged; Cohort Studies; Female; Health Care Costs; Hepacivirus; Hepatitis C; Hepatitis C Antibodies; Humans; Male; Mass Screening; Middle Aged; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Serologic Tests

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