Although hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has high prevalence and incidence in persons with opioid use disorder (PWOUD), their engagement in HCV care has been limited due to a variety of factors. In an ongoing multisite study at 12 opioid treatment programs (OTPs) throughout New York State (NYS), we have been evaluating telemedicine accompanied by onsite administration of direct acting antiviral (DAA) medications compared with usual care including offsite referral to a liver specialist for HCV management. Each site has a case manager (CM) who is responsible for all study-related activities including participant recruitment, facilitating telemedicine interactions, retention in care, and data collection. Our overall objective is to analyze CM experiences of clients’ stories and events to understand how the telemedicine model facilitates HCV treatment. Hermeneutic phenomenology was used to interpret and to explicate common meanings and shared practices of the phenomena of case management, and a focus group with CMs was conducted to reinforce and expand on key themes identified from the CMs’ stories. We identified three themes: (1) building trust, (2) identification of multiple competing priorities, and (3) development of personalized care approaches. Our results illustrate that trust is a fundamental pillar on which the telemedicine system can be based. Participants’ experiences at the OTP can reinforce trust. Understanding the specific competing priorities and routinizing dedicated personalized approaches to overcome them are key to increasing participation in HCV care among PWOUD.
Facilitating engagement of persons with opioid use disorder in treatment for hepatitis C virus infection via telemedicine: Stories of onsite case managers
Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 127, 108421. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2021.108421.