HepCare Ireland-a service innovation project

Ir J Med Sci. 2021 May;190(2):587-595. doi: 10.1007/s11845-020-02324-1. Epub 2020 Aug 6.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) remains a major cause of morbidity and death worldwide, with prevalence highest among people who inject drugs (PWID), homeless populations and prisoners. The World Health Organization has published targets to be achieved by 2030 as part of its global health sector strategy to eliminate viral hepatitis. Recent innovations in testing and treatment of HCV mean such goals are achievable with effective infrastructure, political will and funding. 'HepCare Europe' was a 3-year, EU-funded project involving four member states. It sought to develop, implement and evaluate interventions to improve HCV outcomes through multiple-level interventions, running between 2016 and 2019. This paper aims to summarize the methods and present the aggregate cascade of care figures for the Irish components of HepCare. 'HepCare Ireland' contained five integrated work packages: HepCheck, HepLink, HepFriend, HepEd and HepCost. Interventions included intensified screening, community-based assessment, linkage to specialist care, peer training and support, multidisciplinary educational resources and cost-effectiveness analysis. A total of 812 participants were recruited across the three clinical work packages in Ireland. Two hundred and fifty-seven (31.7%) of the tested participants had an HCV antibody-positive result, with 162 (63.0%) testing positive for HCV RNA. At the time of writing (6th of November 2019), 57 (54.8%) of participants put on treatment had achieved SVR12, with 44 (42.3%) still undergoing treatment. In HepCheck, HepLink. HepEd and HepFriend, we demonstrate a series of interventions to improve Irish HCV outcomes. Our findings highlight the benefits of multilevel interventions in HCV care.

Keywords: HepCare; Hepatitis C (HCV); Integrated care; Peer support; People who inject drugs (PWID).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hepatitis C / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Ireland / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Organizational Innovation*