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New strategies to improve the quality of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) care

January 19, 2018

Las Vegas, NV (Jan. 19, 2017) -- 1.6 million Americans suffer from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) -- a chronic, life-long disease which includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. As with many chronic conditions, IBD patients often require frequent hospital visits due to rapid changes in their illness and can struggle with finding the balance between their health and their work/social life.

Doctors and researchers will come together at the Crohn's & Colitis Congress™ to explore new strategies to improve the care provided to IBD patients, which will ultimately improve patients' quality of life.

The following four studies being presented at the inaugural Crohn's & Colitis Congress -- a partnership of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation and the American Gastroenterological Association, in Las Vegas, NV, on Jan. 19 and 20 -- showcase four strategies with the potential to improve access to quality IBD care and improve patient outcomes.

Home Infusions: the Future of IBD Care?

Study Title: Current Status of Home Infusions for Inflammatory Bowel Disease in the United States

By Bharati Kochar, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, et al.

Significance: Infliximab and vedolizumab infusions pose a burden to IBD patients due to the need to travel and take time from work. In this report, researchers confirm that home infusions may be a safe and cost-effective method to decrease infusion burden for selected patients. The median charge for infliximab home infusion was $500 cheaper compared to standard infusion, and $3,174 cheaper for vedolizumab home infusion compared to standard infusion.

Disclosures: Dr. Kochar has no financial relationships to disclosure. For co-author disclosures and the full abstract, email media@gastro.org.

Telemedicine Shows Promise -- Decreases Hospitalizations but Increases Utilization

Study Title: Telemedicine for Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Tele-IBD) Decreases Inflammatory Bowel Disease-Related Hospitalizations

By Barathi Sivasailam, University of Maryland School of Medicine, et al.

Significance: Telemedicine is an alternative health care delivery system, which could improve outcomes and decrease health care costs. However, based on the TELE-IBD study -- a multicenter, randomized, controlled trial conducted over 1 year -- health care utilization increased for patients in the TELE-IBD program due to significant increases in office visits, infusions and telephone encounters. Nonetheless, patients who received weekly check-ins with their care team did see a significant decrease in IBD-related hospitalizations. While there is potential for telemedicine in IBD, further research is needed to determine if telemedicine can be used to decrease health care utilization.

Disclosures: Dr. Sivasailam has no financial relationships to disclosure. For co-author disclosures and the full abstract, email media@gastro.org.

IBD Specialty Clinic Decreased Emergency Room Visits by 70 Percent

Study Title: The Development of an IBD Specialty Clinic Within a Gastroenterology Practice

By Natalie Pure and Carrie Mize, Gastro One, Tennessee

Significance: When having a flare, IBD patients need rapid access to a gastroenterologist, otherwise they will go to the emergency room. The researchers report on the development of an IBD clinic within their practice, which offers same-day appointments to patients needing to be seen for flares. This allows patients to bypass the emergency room and be seen directly by a GI specialist. The practice hired a nurse navigator to triage the calls of sick patients and facilitate the movement of patients throughout the IBD clinic. They also established a telephone number for IBD patients to call to be triaged quickly. These efforts resulted in a 70 percent cut in the number of emergency room referrals, while also improving patient satisfaction and decreasing health care costs. The patients feel as though their illness is treated as a priority and that they are treated more efficiently since they are seeing is an actual GI specialist. Gastroenterology practices should consider replicating this model to better serve their IBD patients.

Disclosures: the authors have no financial relationships to disclose.

For the full abstract, email media@gastro.org.

Education and Nurse Hotline Decreases IBD Patient ER Visits, Tests and Steroid Use; Increases Satisfaction

Study Title: Sustainable Improvements in Urgent Care Access and Outcomes for Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Disease Through Implementation of an Urgent Access Toolkit

By Jason K. Hou, Baylor College of Medicine and Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, et al.

Significance: IBD patients without adequate access to urgent medical care for exacerbation of symptoms tend to obtain care from emergency departments, which is associated with an increased use of opiates, steroids and poor patient satisfaction. The researchers describe how an urgent access toolkit -- which consisted of an urgent care hotline for direct patient access to a nurse and patient educational information -- improved clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction at the Baylor College of Medicine Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center. After one year, implementation of the urgent access toolkit reduced IBD-associated emergency departments visits, CT scans and prednisone use, as well as increased patient satisfaction related to urgent care access.

Disclosures: lead author Jason K. Hou reports financial relationships with Abbvie, Janssen, Pfizer, Celgene, Redhill Biopharm and Eli Lilly. For co-author disclosures and the full abstract, email media@gastro.org.

All abstracts accepted to the Crohn's & Colitis Congress will be published in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases® (the official journal of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation) and Gastroenterology (the official journal of the American Gastroenterological Association) on Jan. 19.

Attribution to the Crohn's & Colitis Congress™ is requested in all coverage.
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About the Crohn's & Colitis Congress™

The Crohn's & Colitis Congress™, taking place Jan. 18-20, 2018 in Las Vegas, combines the strengths of the nation's leading IBD patient organization, Crohn's & Colitis Foundation (formerly CCFA), and the premier GI professional association, American Gastroenterological Association (AGA). Together we are committed to convening the greatest minds in IBD to transform patient care. The Crohn's & Colitis Congress is the must-attend meeting for all IBD professionals. Learn more at http://crohnscolitiscongress.org.

About the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation is the largest non-profit, voluntary, health organization dedicated to finding cures for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). The Foundation's mission is to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults who are affected by these diseases. The Foundation works to fulfill its mission by funding research; providing educational resources for patients and their families, medical professionals, and the public; and furnishing supportive services for those afflicted with IBD. For more information visit http://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org, call 888-694-8872, or email info@crohnscolitisfoundation.org.

About the AGA Institute

The American Gastroenterological Association is the trusted voice of the GI community. Founded in 1897, the AGA has grown to more than 16,000 members from around the globe who are involved in all aspects of the science, practice and advancement of gastroenterology. The AGA Institute administers the practice, research and educational programs of the organization. http://www.gastro.org.

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