Programming Connection

Ontario Hepatitis C Team: The Ottawa Hospital and Regional Hepatitis Program 

The Ottawa Hospital
Ontario
2015

Challenges

The Hepatitis Program faces a number of challenges in its work in the Community Liaison Program and the Telemedicine Program:

  1. Scheduling telemedicine appointments. There is significant demand on the OTN for specialty medicine appointments. The Hepatitis Program has a set block of time reserved on the OTN, and it can be a challenge to schedule appointments with clients if they are not available during that time.
  2. Delays in lab results for telemedicine clients. The Telemedicine Program is dealing with labs in rural areas that may not be familiar with tests associated with hepatitis C or that do not have access to the latest diagnostic technology. For example, Telemedicine Program clients do not have access to the Ottawa Hospital’s FibroScan, which means they must rely on FibroTests through their local labs. In addition, some hepatitis C genotypes require additional mutation testing to ensure that treatments will have the best chance of being effective. For a new telemedicine client, this challenge means that the time between their initial telemedicine appointment and their follow-up appointment can be up to four months if their lab does not complete all the appropriate tests.
  3. Marginalization and stigma. Mainstream service providers may not have the experience necessary to work with clients in a marginalized group. The Hepatitis Program works to reduce the impact stigma has on their clients by educating external service providers about hepatitis C.