The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Clinical Decision Tool for the Screening and Evaluation of Hepatitis C (HCV) will help gastroenterologists in the early management of HCV-positive patients, according to a new paper in Gastroenterology, the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association. Chronic HCV has a significant impact on the adult population and is a disease for which much progress has been made in its treatment.
"The publication of this clinical decision support tool marks a milestone for the AGA," according to John I. Allen, MD, MPH, AGAF, chair, Hepatitis C Screening and Evaluation Task Force and president-elect of the AGA Institute. "This tool is the first in a series of care pathways that the AGA is developing as part of the Roadmap to the Future of GI, which is designed to provide gastroenterologists with the tools they need to thrive in an accountable care world."
The recommendations for population based screening by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (all people born between 1945 and 1965) were created in an effort to identify the 2.7 to 3.9 million Americans living with chronic HCV infection. The identification of this population and the subsequent management of the disease will overwhelm the current capacity of hepatologists. It is vital, therefore, that general gastroenterologists engage in the management of HCV patients.
The HCV Clinical Decision Tool is unique in that each decision point was evaluated and graded for its strength of evidence and strength of recommendation. It was designed to aid gastroenterologists in the early management of HCV-positive patients through an evidence-based, cost effective initial evaluation of HCV-positive patients.
"As the U.S. moves into a health-care delivery world constrained by financial pressures and characterized by accountable care, risk contracting for population management and reimbursements tied to outcomes, the tools created by the AGA will aid gastroenterologists to redesign their practice to meet these challenges," stated Dr. Allen.
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