A Digital Case-Finding Algorithm for Diagnosed but Untreated Hepatitis C: A Tool for Increasing Linkage to Treatment and Cure

Brooke Wyatt, Ponni V. Perumalswami, Anna Mageras, Mark Miller, Alyson Harty, Ning Ma, Chip A. Bowman, Francina Collado, Jihae Jeon, Lismeiry Paulino, Amreen Dinani, Douglas Dieterich, Li Li, Maxence Vandromme, Andrea D. Branch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background and Aims: Although chronic HCV infection increases mortality, thousands of patients remain diagnosed-but-untreated (DBU). We aimed to (1) develop a DBU phenotyping algorithm, (2) use it to facilitate case finding and linkage to care, and (3) identify barriers to successful treatment. Approach and Results: We developed a phenotyping algorithm using Java and SQL and applied it to ~2.5 million EPIC electronic medical records (EMRs; data entered January 2003 to December 2017). Approximately 72,000 EMRs contained an HCV International Classification of Diseases code and/or diagnostic test. The algorithm classified 10,614 cases as DBU (HCV-RNA positive and alive). Its positive and negative predictive values were 88% and 97%, respectively, as determined by manual review of 500 EMRs randomly selected from the ~72,000. Navigators reviewed the charts of 6,187 algorithm-defined DBUs and they attempted to contact potential treatment candidates by phone. By June 2020, 30% (n = 1,862) had completed an HCV-related appointment. Outcomes analysis revealed that DBU patients enrolled in our care coordination program were more likely to complete treatment (72% [n = 219] vs. 54% [n = 256]; P < 0.001) and to have a verified sustained virological response (67% vs. 46%; P < 0.001) than other patients. Forty-eight percent (n = 2,992) of DBU patients could not be reached by phone, which was a major barrier to engagement. Nearly half of these patients had Fibrosis-4 scores ≥ 2.67, indicating significant fibrosis. Multivariable logistic regression showed that DBUs who could not be contacted were less likely to have private insurance than those who could (18% vs. 50%; P < 0.001). Conclusions: The digital DBU case-finding algorithm efficiently identified potential HCV treatment candidates, freeing resources for navigation and coordination. The algorithm is portable and accelerated HCV elimination when incorporated in our comprehensive program.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2974-2987
Number of pages14
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'A Digital Case-Finding Algorithm for Diagnosed but Untreated Hepatitis C: A Tool for Increasing Linkage to Treatment and Cure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this