Patient perspectives on hepatitis C and its treatment
Much of the research to date on barriers to treatment for patients with hepatitis C has approached the problem from either the perspective of the medical provider or the healthcare system. To better understand these barriers from the patients' perspectives, nine exploratory focus groups of patients with hepatitis C (N=48) were conducted in 2008 and 2009, using a hybrid qualitative analysis. Eight content categories emerged. Treatment-related issues, including barriers to care, were most emphasized, representing nearly one-half of the entire content. Need for accurate disease-related information was also extensively discussed. Social factors were important, including considerable focus on stigma. Participants described coping abilities including faith and perseverance. Areas of concern expressed in these focus groups represent underexplored areas that may warrant additional attention or areas for intervention and investigation, such as exploring differences between perceptions of patients and providers regarding the hepatitis C treatment process and addressing barriers to care.