Identification of hepatitis B and C screening and patient management guidelines and availability of training for chronic viral hepatitis among health professionals in six European countries: Results of a semi-quantitative survey
BMC Infectious Diseases , Volume 15 - Issue 1
Background: As part of the EU funded project "HEPscreen", the aim of this study is to identify hepatitis B and C screening and patient management guidelines, to assess the awareness of these among health professionals (HPs) and to explore the availability of hepatitis B/C training programmes for HPs in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the UK, Spain and Hungary. Methods: A comprehensive literature search through the main scientific databases was performed to retrieve guidelines, following which an online survey was developed and sent to HPs in six areas of health care, including public health, to verify whether HPs are aware of these guidelines, to retrieve additional guidelines and to find out whether specific professional training is available. Results: Twelve national guidelines were identified through the literature search. Of the 268 respondents, 80% were aware of hepatitis B guidelines and 73% were aware of hepatitis C guidelines in their country. The national guidelines identified through the literature search were mentioned by 1/3 of HPs in the UK and Germany, 13% of HPs in the Netherlands, 14% in Italy and 4% in Spain. An additional 41 hepatitis B/C related guidance documents were retrieved through the online survey: 15 in the UK, seven in Hungary, six in Italy, five in the Netherlands, four in Germany and four in Spain. Availability of training programmes to improve skills and knowledge in viral hepatitis was most often reported in the Netherlands, with 82% indicating availability and just 10% indicating no availability, and least commonly in Italy, with 42% indicating yes but 40% indicating no. Availability was also reported by the majority in the UK, Hungary and Spain, while in Germany the majority selected unsure. Conclusions: Results suggest that the scientific databases are not the most important information source of best clinical practice for many HPs. Implementation of best practices requires that guidelines are specifically designed and actively promoted among those who are to follow them. Training can disseminate these best practice recommendations and raise awareness of guidelines. It is therefore encouraging that diverse training about hepatitis B/C is available to the different professional groups.