Patient Perspectives on Barriers to Hepatitis C Treatment: Qualitative Analysis of Patient Focus Groups




Devereaux, Robert Logan

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Much of the research to date on barriers to treatment for patients with hepatitis C (HCV) has approached the problem from either the perspective of either the medical provider or healthcare system. To better understand these barriers from the patients' perspectives, exploratory focus groups were conducted with both mono-infected HCV and coinfected HCV/HIV patients. Nine focus groups with a total of 48 patients were conducted in 2008 and 2009. Transcribed focus group passages were categorized using qualitative analysis software. The category with the most passages was treatment knowledge (24%), which contained patients' expressions of their personal understanding as well as requests for additional information. The category with the fewest passages was desire for treatment (6%). The treatment barriers category included frustration with medical provider communication and difficulty with physician-patient relationships as well as social stigma and lack of accurate disease knowledge. These areas of concern expressed by patients in focus groups have highlighted underexplored areas that may warrant future investigation as potential opportunities for development of intervention.

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