ICYMI: Telehealth Improves Outcomes for Hepatitis C Patients When Compared to In-Person Treatment, Study Finds

Apr 23, 2024

Research Indicates Higher Cure Rates of Hepatitis C Through Virtual Opioid Treatment Programs Compared to In-Person Programs

In case you missed it, a recent study published in JAMA Network found that utilizing telehealth treatment for hepatitis C significantly increased cure rates compared to patients referred off-site for treatment among those receiving care in opioid treatment programs.

The study analyzed data from 2017 and 2020 across seven opioid treatment programs in 12 locations in the state of New York and had 602 participants. The eight researchers who conducted the study were comprised of medical professors and professionals in New York. 

Researchers found that facilitated telemedicine for hepatitis C treatment produced more favorable outcomes than the standard-of-care off-site referral to hepatitis specialists because it “mitigated geographic and temporal barriers” to treatment. 

Within the patients in the telehealth group, 90.2 percent were cured of hepatitis C and had minimal instances of reinfection or relapse into illicit drug use within the subsequent two years. In contrast, among patients within the control group who were treated for hepatitis C in a secondary location, only 39.4 percent were successfully cured of the disease.

Andrew Talal, lead author of the study and professor of medicine at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Buffalo, commented on the benefits of a telemedicine program to address hepatitis C in individuals with opioid use disorder, which often goes untreated, saying, “Telemedicine removes geography as an obstacle to high-quality specialty care for a common condition among individuals at an OTP … Management of other common conditions encountered in the OTP patient population could be modeled on our experiences with HCV (hepatitis C virus) care delivered in the OTP.” 

The findings of this study underscore the effectiveness of virtual care. Telemedicine is a crucial tool in transforming healthcare and allowing patients to access the care they need when and where it is convenient for them. These transformative and proven-successful telemedicine flexibilities are at risk if Congress doesn’t enact permanent telehealth safeguards without unnecessary limitations before the current flexibilities expire at the end of this year.

Read the full study HERE, Inside Telehealth’s coverage of the study HERE, and learn more about how Congress can act to permanently protect telehealth access HERE.


Telehealth Access for America (TAFA) is a public education campaign supported by leaders in health care committed to better care, expanded patient choice, and protecting access to critical telehealth services. Learn more and take action today at www.telehealthaccessforamerica.org.