Increasing Birth Cohort Screening for Chronic Hepatitis C in a Primary Care Clinic with Panel Management

Publication Date

January 2019

Document Type


Publication Title

Journal of Community Health



Chronic hepatitis C affects millions of people worldwide and patients born between 1945 and 1965 are at elevated risk. Hepatitis C infection can lead to health complications including liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Recent advancements in direct-acting antiviral treatments have placed the spotlight on primary care providers to identify undiagnosed patients with chronic hepatitis C for treatment and attaining a sustained-virologic response. Primary care providers do not routinely screen patients born between 1945 and 1965 for hepatitis C despite CDC recommendations. To evaluate the effectiveness of a hepatitis C screening protocol implemented in a primary care setting with no prior protocol. A multidisciplinary team was used to implement a hepatitis C screening protocol for patients born between 1945 and 1965 (birth cohort screening). A retrospective analysis was conducted to compare the rate of hepatitis C screening 2 years before and 2 years after the protocol was implemented. Frequency data were collected monthly and tracked in a run chart noting relevant events that affected screening. In the 2 years before the screening protocol began, 81 patients were screened (average = 3 per month); and in the 2 years after the intervention was implemented, a total of 637 patients were screened (average = 25 per month). The protocol was successful in increasing screening rates from 15 to 66% in the 2 years post-intervention. This quality improvement study demonstrated that targeting the birth cohort population was a successful method for increasing hepatitis C screening in a primary care clinic.


Hepatitis C/diagnosis, Primary health care, Mass screening/methods


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