To investigate the effect of an intervention in which medical-microbiological laboratories alert general practitioners (GPs) in writing about patients with a chronic hepatitis B or C infection in their practice, urging them to bring these patients under medical surveillance again now that treatment options have improved and guidelines have been revised.
All patients who had been diagnosed with hepatitis B or C between 2003 and 2013 on the request of the GP, and for whom diagnostics by an internist, infectious diseases specialist or gastrointestinal/liver specialist had never been requested, were included. The requesting GP received a letter advising them to confirm the diagnosis, and if results were positive to refer the patient to a hepatitis centre. If the GP did not respond, or the healthcare practitioner involved was not the current GP, a written reminder was sent.
A total of 515 letters were sent initially; the final response following reminders was 362 (70%). Of these 362 patients, 69 (19%) still had an indication for referral and 45 (64%) were referred to a hepatitis centre.
The intervention was successful, feasible and relatively simple.
Conflict of interest and financial support: ICMJE forms provided by the authors are available online along with the full text of this article.