Cirrhosis is a prevalent and expensive condition and its burden in Australia is rising, due in part to increasing prevalence of alcohol and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and viral hepatitis. Patients with cirrhosis frequently develop debilitating complications requiring hospital admissions and impairing quality of life. Optimal care of decompensated cirrhosis involves a complex regimen of medications, dietary restrictions and laboratory testing. However many patients lack the disease knowledge and medication-management skills required to effectively contribute to their disease management. In addition, there is increasing emphasis on quality in health care and improving outcomes by sharing best practice and reducing variation in processes of care.
In collaboration with researchers from The University of Queensland and the Princess Alexandra Hospital, a pilot study was carried out in 2015, and in 2016 we are seeking funds for a Queensland wide study. This state-wide study will encompass ten Queensland hospitals that represent a mix of private and public, regional and metropolitan areas, and patients from a variety of cultural backgrounds. This study will document patient knowledge of disease and patterns of care for people with cirrhosis, identify disparities, and suggest mechanisms for improvement, with references to evidence-based quality of care indicators.
With a better understanding of patient and health system factors that impact health outcomes, we will make recommendations to improve the management of cirrhosis.