Knowledge, attitudes and behaviours associated with the provision of hepatitis C care by Canadian family physicians


Joseph Cox, Public Health Department, McGill University, Health Protection Sector, Montreal Health & Social Services Agency, 1301 rue Sherbrooke est, Montreal, QC H2L1M3 Canada.


Summary.  The role of primary care physicians in providing care for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is increasingly emphasized, but many gaps and challenges remain. This study explores family physicians’ knowledge, attitudes and practices associated with providing care for HCV infection. Seven hundred and forty-nine members of the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) completed a self-administered survey examining knowledge, attitudes and behaviours regarding HCV infection screening and care. Multivariate analyses were performed using the outcome, HCV care provision, and variables based on a conceptual model of practice guideline adherence. Family physicians providing basic–advanced HCV care were more likely to be older, practice in a rural setting, have injection drug users (IDU) in their practice and have higher levels of knowledge about the initial assessment (OR = 1.77; 95% CI = 1.23–2.54) and treatment of HCV (OR = 1.74; 95% CI = 1.24–2.43). They were also less likely to believe that family physicians do not have a role in HCV care (OR = 0.41; 95% CI = 0.30–0.58). Educational programmes should target physicians less likely to provide HCV care, namely family physicians practicing in urban areas and those who do not care for any IDU patients. Training and continuing medical education programmes that aim to shift family physicians’ attitudes about the provision of HCV care by promoting their roles as integral to HCV care could contribute to easing the burden on consultant physicians and lead to improved access to treatment for HCV infection.