The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute announced it has awarded a grant worth $7 million to the State University of New York to support research that will compare the effectiveness of telemedicine provided in methadone clinics vs. referral to a liver specialist for the treatment of hepatitis C virus infection in drug users.
The research will be led by Andrew Talal, MD, MPH, professor of medicine and director of the Center for Clinical Care and Research in Liver Disease at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, New York, and will compare HCV treatment through telemedicine — a type of videoconferencing that allows a doctor and patient to interact even if they are not in the same location — with a patient meeting a liver specialist off site.
The research will be a stepped wedge cluster randomized controlled trial conducted at 12 methadone clinics following the standard of care, during a period of 5 years. At regular intervals, clinics will switch in a random order to the telemedicine approach for HCV care.
The primary outcome of the research is the rate of viral eradication 12 weeks after completing HCV treatment.
“As current approaches for HCV treatment of people recovering from addiction are highly unsuccessful, new models for HCV care in this population are needed,” the research team wrote in a summary of the project on the PCORI website. “The major goal of our study is to provide such a model.”
Disclosure: Healio.com/Hepatology was unable to confirm Talal’s relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication.