The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has launched a pilot program that will use health IT and telemedicine technologies to help combat growing rates of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the United States, Health Data Management reports.

The program, called Project ECHO, will provide weekly video conferences about hep C to areas of the country that have a shortage of liver specialists. Already, doctors in Utah and Arizona are receiving specialized courses on how to treat and cure hepatitis C in their communities. The program works alongside another pilot from the American Medical Association (AMA) that is working to improve the screening and referral process for HCV treatment.

The idea is to eventually provide a full spectrum of care for patients, wherever they live in the country, which would includes testing, linkage to appropriate care and the ability to follow appropriate guidelines to treat the disease. The pilots will also seek to use public health and clinical care data collected during the programs to keep better track of the disease. Their ultimate goal is to test and cure 10,000 patients.

To read an overview of the telemedicine pilot, click here.