Mary Pat Pauly, MD

Gastroenterology, North Valley

Hepatitis C Care Pathway

“One of the most rewarding aspects of our model of care is empowering patients so they can be active participants in the management of their disease.”

In 1997, faced with an epidemic that was larger than HIV/AIDs, Dr. Pauly pioneered a method for educating and treating patients with Hepatitis C. This approach is now used throughout Kaiser Permanente, and in other medical institutions around the country.

“In the late 1990s, the GI departments were getting flooded with referrals to see patients with Hepatitis C,” Dr. Pauly relates. While treatment options at the time were limited and not very effective, lifestyle modifications, such as eliminating alcohol and drugs, had been shown to positively influence the natural history of the disease. Therefore, Dr. Pauly developed a class, taught by a nurse and physician, for patients newly diagnosed with Hepatitis C. Patients identified through the class as good candidates for treatment would be referred to a gastroenterologist; others were encouraged to make appropriate lifestyle changes and monitored over time.

Based on the success of this approach in the North Valley, in 1998, Dr. Pauly assembled a multi-disciplinary taskforce that developed a care pathway spanning the spectrum of care: including screening, diagnosis, patient education, evidence-based treatment and follow-up protocols.

Dr. Pauly also has been involved in clinical research, searching for answers to important questions surrounding the care of patients with Hepatitis C.