1Gastroenterology Department, St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne, 35 Victoria Parade, Fitzroy, VIC 3065 Australia.
2GP Liaison Department, St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne, 35 Victoria Parade, Fitzroy, VIC 3065 Australia.
North Richmond Community Health, 23 Lennox Street, Richmond, VIC 3121 Australia.
4Victorian Infectious Diseases Service, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, 300 Gratten Street, Parkville, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Australia.
5La Trobe University, The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, 215 Franklin Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Australia.
6Department of General Practice, The University of Melbourne, 200 Berkeley Street, Parkville, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Australia.
EpiSoft Pty Ltd, Suite 216, 20 Dale Street, Brookvale, NSW 2100 Australia.
The current model of care for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B (CHB) in Australia is through specialist Hepatology or Infectious Diseases clinics, and limited accredited primary care practices. Capacity is limited, and less than 5% of Australians living with CHB currently access therapy. Increasing treatment uptake is an urgent area of clinical need. Nucleos(t)ide analogue therapy is safe and effective treatment for CHB that is suitable for community prescribing. We have evaluated the success of a community-based model for the management of CHB in primary care clinics using a novel web-based clinical tool.
Using guidelines set out by the Gastroenterological Society of Australia, we developed an interactive online clinical management tool for the shared care of patients with CHB in primary care clinics, with remote oversight from tertiary hospital-based hepatologists and a project officer. We call this model of care the "B in IT" program. Suitable patients were referred from the specialist liver clinic back to primary care for ongoing management. Compliance with recommended appointments, pathology tests and ultrasounds of patients enrolled in "B in IT" was assessed and compared to that of the same patients prior to community discharge, as well as a matched control group of CHB outpatients continuing to attend a specialist clinic.
Thirty patients with CHB were enrolled in the "B in IT" program. Compliance with attending scheduled appointments within 1 month of the suggested date was 87% across all 115 visits scheduled. Compliance with completing recommended pathology within 1 month of the suggested date was 94% and compliance with completing recommended liver ultrasounds for cancer screening within 1 month of the suggested date was 89%. The compliance rates for visit attendance and ultrasound completion were significantly higher than the control patient group (p < 0.0001) and the "B in IT" patients prior to community discharge (p = 0.002 and p = 0.039, respectively).
The "B in IT" program's novel web-based clinical tool supports primary care physicians to treat and monitor patients with CHB. This program promotes community-based care and increases system capacity for the clinical care of people living with CHB.