Year 2021 / Volume 113 / Number 6
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Year 2021 / Volume 113 / Number 6


Chronic viral hepatitis C micro-elimination program using telemedicine. The Mexican experience


José Luis Pérez Hernández, Rodolfo Lehmann Mendoza, Javier Luna Martínez, José Fernando Torres Roldán, Pedro Armando Chaidez Rosales, Hilario Ascención Martinez Arredondo, Verónica Rebollar González, Lourdes De la Cruz Silva, Daniel Santana Vargas, María de Fátima Higuera de la Tijera, C. Alejandro Arce Salinas,

Background: hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a global health problem. Chronic infection induces the development of fibrosis and cirrhosis together with all the related complications. The use of direct-acting antiviral (DAA) drugs has proven highly effective. Telemedicine is a present-day resource that brings treatment closer to distant areas and may result in cost savings. Objective: to implement a microelimination program for HCV using DAAs with the support of a telemedicine program to minimize expenses. Patients and methods: the program was developed at the Medical Services department of Petróleos Mexicanos (SMPM) with a national coverage; patients diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C were included. These were classified into locals and outsiders. Treatment for foreign patients was indicated, monitored and completed via telemedicine. Thus, avoiding their travel to the country’s capital city, in order to save on transportation costs and travel allowances. Results: a total of 136 patients, 74 locals and 62 outsiders, participated in the study. Transfer was avoided for 62 patients (45.5 %), which meant that telemedicine resulted in savings of 3,176.20 USD per patient, with overall savings of 196,924.40 USD from cost minimization. A total of 30 patients remained untreated due to lack of medication, hence the coverage amounted to 86 %. Sustained virological response (SVR) was achieved in 99 % of cases. Only two patients had treatment failure. Adverse events included headache and fatigue in 5 % of the cohort. Conclusions: with the aid of a telemedicine approach, significant savings were achieved by minimizing costs, since nearly half of patients were outsiders. Coverage reached 86 % and treatment with DAAs was successful for 99 % of our cases.

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Asociación Española de Ecografía Digestiva Sociedad Española de Endoscopia Digestiva Sociedad Española de Patología Digestiva
The Spanish Journal of Gastroenterology is the official organ of the Sociedad Española de Patología Digestiva, the Sociedad Española de Endoscopia Digestiva and the Asociación Española de Ecografía Digestiva
© 2021 The Spanish Journal of Gastroenterology