Recent innovations in drug therapy to treat chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) provide the opportunity for clinical cure, but there are limited comparative effectiveness research (CER)/patient-centered outcomes research studies to inform patients and payers about their treatment options. A review of existing HCV CER models and other HCV publications by Mattingly et al. identified very little use of patient-engagement methods to inform these CER studies. Patients with HCV face psychological and socioeconomic challenges that extend well beyond laboratory tests for the presence of a virus or damage to the liver.
This project aims to develop the capacity for health services researchers to continuously engage underserved HCV patients to inform and improve CER models for HCV interventions. Using established community engagement facilities at the University of Maryland, HCV-infected residents from underserved communities, clinicians, and researchers will work directly with the UMB-HFI research team to apply existing CER to patient cases and to identify gaps or areas where the CER could be revised to be more meaningful to underserved patients. Additional support from The PATIENTS Program at the University of Maryland will help the UMB-HFI collaboration adhere to best practices of steps 1 through 3 of the 10-Step Framework of Continuous Patient Engagement. The resulting discussions will be summarized and disseminated through a blog that will be targeted to both patients and researchers. Blog posts will be strategically shared through social media and communications by the UMB-HFI research team. We also will reach out to ongoing HCV investigators funded by PCORI.