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Videoconferences helping Indiana doctors treat hepatitis

Irma Hendricks has blood drawn at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, on Oct. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Jessica Kourkounis)

Indiana health officials have started a videoconferencing program for specialists to discuss the treatment of a growing number of hepatitis C cases with primary care doctors in rural areas.

Outbreaks of the often-deadly liver disease linked to intravenous drug use have grown with the national opioid crisis. State health department chief medical officer Joan Duwve tells the Indianapolis Business Journal that patients in rural areas sometimes aren't treated because they can't travel to see a specialist.

A partnership of Indiana University, the state health department and the company MedIQ is offering the video clinics twice a month. Similar clinics are used in at least 38 other states.

Indiana health officials say the state's number of acute hepatitis C cases jumped from 28 in 2010 to 130 in 2015.

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Information from: Indianapolis Business Journal, http://www.ibj.com

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