21 Feb 2023
Better detection of hepatitis B and hepatitis C will reduce the risk of cancer
Over 200,000 people in Australia live with hepatitis B and over 100,000 people with hepatitis C, and have a greater risk of liver cancer – one of the leading causes of cancer death in Australia.
Most cases of liver cancer are preventable, and if people who are living with hepatitis B or hepatitis C have access to good health care to manage their condition, their risk of getting liver cancer later in life is reduced significantly.
For this to happen, people who are affected by hepatitis need to be offered testing and receive follow-up and appropriate treatment by their doctor.
To this end, researchers from the WHO Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis at the Doherty Institute are leading the HepLOGIC project to improve the identification and care of people at risk of liver cancer in general practice.
The team, in partnership with Outcome Health, has developed a tool that uses data from general practice records to prompt risk-based screening, support the clinical care of people living with chronic viral hepatitis and reduce the incidence of preventable liver cancer.
“Our analysis of Australian data indicates that, in a general practice population, less than half of people who are at risk of chronic viral hepatitis have been tested,” said Professor Ben Cowie, Principal Investigator of the HepLOGIC Pilot and Feasibility Study and Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis.
“We've designed HepLOGIC to make it easier for GPs to identify people at risk of hepatitis B or C and to provide them with the right level of support. The software sits open in front of the clinical software, alerting the doctor to risks that are indicated within an open patient record.”
The team is now recruiting GP clinics to roll out and test the pilot software.
“We’re looking for 20 GP clinics to join us in testing this clinical decision-support tool for viral hepatitis and liver cancer that is integrated with their electronic patient records,” said Dr Nicole Allard, GP and researcher at the Doherty Institute.
To be eligible to join the study, practices need to be in the Gippsland, Eastern Melbourne or South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network Regions, and use either Best Practice or Medical Director clinical software.
For more information, visit https://www.doherty.edu.au/whoccvh/heplogicstudy
HepLOGIC is a Victorian Cancer Agency-funded project led by the Doherty Institute in collaboration with The Kirby Institute (University of New South Wales), The Burnet Institute, LiverWELL (incorporating Hepatitis Victoria), Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network, South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network, Gippsland Primary Health Network and Outcome Health.