*This audio first appeared on New Hampshire Public Radio.

David de Gijsel of Better Life Partners discusses DISCERNNE on NHPR

New Hampshire Public Radio’s Alli Fam spoke with Better Life Partners’ Chief Health Officer David de Gijsel, MD, MSc, MPH on Tuesday about recent news of the Rural New England Health Study (also known as DISCERNNE) which works to address the rapid increase of Hepatitis C (HCV) infections as a result of the opioid epidemic.

David discussed the importance of meeting people where they are at with effective treatment, including through telehealth, instead of mandating in-person care and other obstacles:

“How can we convince healthcare providers that providing telemedicine, and not requiring people to come to the office, is a safe and effective way? Well, we need to show it in a trial like this.”

Better Life Partners, Baystate Health and Tufts University School of Medicine are collaborating with harm reduction agencies in Vermont and New Hampshire to perform the study which uses a van equipped with medical staff, blood testing, syringe services, and telemedicine capability to provide accessible HCV testing and treatment services outside the traditional healthcare setting. The van currently operates in the areas surrounding Brattleboro, VT and Keene, NH.