Improving a Process to Obtain Hepatitis B Serology Among Patients Treated with Infliximab at a Large Urban Children's Hospital

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Hepatitis B infection is a significant public health challenge despite improvements in vaccination efforts. Patients such as those on chronic immunosuppressive therapy for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or rheumatic disease may incur greater risk. The risk of reactivation of hepatitis B while on immunosuppressive therapy may have mortality rates up to 25%. These patients should be screened for acute or chronic infection and vaccinated if necessary. Our aim was to reliably complete hepatitis B screenings in patients receiving infliximab at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC).


Eligible patients included all patients with gastroenterology (GI) IBD and rheumatology receiving infliximab between October 2015 and March 2016. Using quality improvement methodology and the 'plan-do-study-act' (PDSA) approach, interventions centred around education of clinical providers, previsit planning and the development of 'talking points' for patients.


An initial screen of the IBD population revealed that 48% of the IBD patient population had been screened for anti-HBs alone, but no patients from GI or rheumatology divisions had a complete set of hepatitis B serology prior to the intervention including anti-Hep B Core and Hep B Surface Antigen. Seven PDSA cycles were performed during the 32-week intervention period, resulting in an increase in patients screened from 0% to ~85%. By March 2016, a total of 251 patients (201 GI, 50 rheumatology) had up-to-date hepatitis B serology screening. Automated ordering of the hepatitis B serology and 'talking points' for the provider had the greatest impact on successful screening.


We developed a method to obtain hepatitis B serology on at-risk patients on infliximab within two subspecialty divisions within a large children's hospital. Next steps will be to develop a process to reliably provide vaccines for patients who are seronegative, expand this process to all patients who are identified as immunocompromised within GI and rheumatology and then expand this process to other divisions at the CCHMC.