Poster 1102 Can We Rely on Internet in the Era of Hepatitis C Cure?
Author Insight from Nancy Gupta, MD, Westchester Medical Center at New York Medical College
What’s new here and important for clinicians?
As we enter into an era where different management strategies have made it possible to cure hepatitis C, it is ultimately the choice of the patient to procure the treatment. Models developed to estimate the impact of HCV testing and treatment on the burden of hepatitis C at a country level reveal that large decreases in HCV prevalence and incidence are possible as more people are successfully treated. However, misunderstanding of the efficacy and safety of current anti-HCV therapies persists because side effects and intolerability of earlier treatments loom over the mind of the patients, despite extensive media coverage. Physicians need to explore new means of educating their patients regarding the availability of new therapies and benefits of treatment. The internet, especially sites like YouTube, can have an impact over the mindset of the general population. As patients turn towards the Internet to communicate with other patients in similar situations, it provides a unique source for clinicians to educate their patients and reach out a large group of patients and answer their questions.
What do patients need to know?
Patients need to understand that not all the information freely available on popular sites like YouTube comes from a reliable source. Our research indicated that maximum numbers of videos on YouTube are uploaded by the patients regarding their personal experiences. Although connecting to patients who suffer a similar disease is not a bad idea, each patient is different. Hence, patients who see these videos should not generalize an individual experience. Instead, all the queries and concerns should be discussed with the health care providers so that an individualized decision regarding their health can be made.
Nancy Gupta, MD, Westchester Medical Center at New York Medical College
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