ASHM aims to pilot new frameworks and care pathways to improve access to care and treatment in community and across primary health services for people living with hepatitis B, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities from high prevalence countries. The project will focus on geographic locations with a high prevalence of chronic hepatitis B and longer wait times in outpatient clinics. 

Currently, there are few formalised mechanisms to support the referral of people living with chronic hepatitis B (CHB) from specialist services to GP prescribers in community settings. This inhibits the volume of patients who are able to benefit from  management and treatment by a community-based prescriber. 

 

Previous studies in this area suggest that the lack of systematic programs or pathways established make it difficult to refer patients back to general practice for CHB management, with the process often relying on the individual relationships between GPs and the specialist service or specialist themself[1].

 

In addition to this, the most identified barrier to CHB management in primary care for GPs is unclear referral pathways, limited feedback from specialists after referrals and limited support for hepatitis b management[2] .

 

These identified gaps in the current treatment and care landscape across Australia is where this pilot project can target and seek to support GPs and specialist services. By promoting and supporting local GPs in increasing monitoring and management of CHB in primary care, patients could be engaged in care in a setting and manner that is convenient to them.

 

Next steps for ASHM include setting up appropriate project management and project governance structures to allow comprehensive planning for the project and the proposed pilot areas. Aspects of the project will be co-designed with both clinicians and those in the community living with CHB, to ensure any new processes and materials are fit for purpose and provide a positive, simple and seamless user experience.

 

To learn more about the project, please contact the ASHM Quality Improvement Manager: rachel.byrne@ashm.org.au.

 

[1] Wallace J, Richmond J, Allard N, Howell J, Adamson E, Xiao Y et al. Facilitating hepatitis B clinical management in general practice: A qualitative investigation. Australian Journal of General Practice. 2020;49(9):599-604.

[2] Sievert K, Liddle R, Tan A, Arachchi N, Valaydon Z, Allard N. Promoting hospital and primary care collaboration for timely and effective care for chronic hepatitis B in western Melbourne. Australian Health Review. 2020.