July 28, 2011
National Minority Quality Forum Launches the Hepatitis C Index
New tool to help identify areas for increased education and screening for hepatitis C
WASHINGTON, DC: In recognition of World Hepatitis Day, the National Minority Quality Forum today launched the Hepatitis C Index, a novel resource for mapping hepatitis C (http://www.maphepc.com).
For the first time, health-care practitioners, policy makers, advocacy groups, and researchers will be able to quantify and map hepatitis C (HCV) prevalence and total counts at the zip-code level for the United States as well as for individual states, counties, metropolitan statistical areas, and federal and state legislative districts. In addition, the index maps HCV by age, gender and race/ethnicity. Index users may generate color-coded maps of hepatitis C prevalence, total counts and hospitalizations rates for downloading, printing, and dissemination to support educational and advocacy initiatives.
“Identifying where hepatitis C is most prevalent may encourage early screening and surveillance efforts and help to realize our national goal of prevention and control of HCV infections in the United States,” says Charles Howell, MD, Director, hepatology research, University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Hepatitis C prevalence disproportionately affects blacks (2.7%) versus whites (1.4%), and is highest among the 40–64 age group (3.1%); the New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago metropolitan areas are ranked one to three for total HCV infections (source: Hepatitis C Index).
“Hepatitis C has infected nearly 4 million persons in the United States; almost 20% of HCV patients are hospitalized annually, resulting in a tremendous burden on our U.S. health care system. These data derived from the Hepatitis C Index serve as a reminder that the need exists for improved HCV surveillance, and better targeting of HCV services to remedy this healthcare problem,” notes Gary Puckrein, PhD, CEO of the National Minority Quality Forum.
The Hepatitis C Index was developed with financial support from Vertex Pharmaceuticals.
The National Minority Quality Forum (www.nmqf.org) is a non-profit healthcare research and educational organization dedicated to the elimination of health disparities. The Forum supports national and local efforts to eliminate the disproportionate burden of premature death and preventable illness in racial and ethnic minorities and other special populations. The Forum has introduced user-friendly, web-based disease atlases and indexes to provide a unique two-dimensional view of various diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, lung cancer, kidney disease, HIV/AIDS, and MRSA by zip code. Users now have an unprecedented objective and reliable source of integrated data to validate the existence of health disparities.