The Med-IQ Quality Improvement Institute has joined forces with MedStar Health, the healthcare provider in Maryland and Washington, DC, to address the substantial burden of unrecognized chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among the baby boomer population.

Expanding Success: Improving Alignment With Birth Cohort-Based HIV Testing and Linkage to Care is an expansion of an award-winning quality improvement (QI) initiative designed to facilitate the identification of HCV infection in alignment with current clinical practice guidelines, thereby decreasing the downstream health effects associated with this silent disease.

Although the CDC issued guidance in 2012 for a one-time HCV test for all persons born between 1945 and 1965, numerous barriers to timely identification exist. In response to these challenges, Med-IQ launched its first HCV QI initiative in 2013 in partnership with Duke University to evaluate testing patterns among baby boomer patients.

This led to the development of a framework for continual evaluation of HCV testing patterns and facilitation of better alignment with guidelines related to identifying patients and linking patients with initial positive screening test results to appropriate specialty care. This initiative demonstrated a statistically significant increase in HCV antibody testing among baby boomers.

Now, Med-IQ and MedStar Health announce further expansion of this work into 15 primary care centers in the greater Washington DC/Baltimore area.

This initiative will support practice improvements in HCV testing and linkage of HCV-infected patients to appropriate care by conducting continual, focused reviews of current practice patterns, offering a series of electronic and live educational activities, and distributing patient education resources developed by nationally recognized public health agencies.

"HCV is now a curable disease for almost every infected patient, but to reap the benefits of treatment, patients must first be identified. We are thrilled to bring our proven framework to additional primary care clinics within the MedStar Health system so that more baby boomers will become aware of their serostatus and take action," said Sara Miller, MS, Director of the Med-IQ QI Institute.

The Med-IQ Quality Improvement Institute has been recognized by the Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions (ACEhp) for its previous HCV initiatives and has been invited by the Center for Business Intelligence and the Society for Academic Continuing Medical Education to present QI data and findings.