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Burst of Collective Energy

It’s been a busy week in the ImproveCareNow community, and it’s not over yet. As one of the “official” leaders of this community, I’m sitting back for a few minutes and reflecting (as I often do) on how many people from across this community have become contributors and leaders in their own right; collaborating across roles and across the miles.  Not every week looks the same in ImproveCareNow. Some weeks, our momentum slows a bit and centers look inward and focus on their own vital improvement activities. But this is one of those weeks when you see the power of community fluctuate not just day-by-day, but hour-to-hour and down to the moment. In these moments, you realize, you are witnessing a truly incredible burst of collective energy. And nearly all of this work is happening virtually—by phone and online—with participants from across the US and beyond.

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Working Together to ImproveCareNow: Building Opportunities for Research Co-Production

ImproveCareNow believes in doing research with parents/patients, not for or about them. The practice is called Research Co-Production and it means that parents/patients are not only participants in research, but also that they are team members involved in coming up with research questions, designing research studies, running the studies and sharing the findings. We believe that co-producing research can make it more relevant and improve the quality.

Traditionally, research has not been done this way. So it’s up to us to design a system that supports this type of partnership. Here’s how we’re building opportunities for research co-production in ImproveCareNow.

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PAC Welcomes Six New Members

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Let's give a warm welcome to - and get to know - six new members of the Patient Advisory Council (PAC). Grady, Nick, Natalie, Shawntel, Emily and Laci are ready to #imPACt the lives of kids with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, by raising awareness about the realities of life with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and building connections and tools to support each other and all young patients with IBD. They're also using their voices and experiences to actively represent over 27,400 patients with IBD across the ImproveCareNow Network and are committed to collaborating and continuously improving outcomes as part of our Learning Health System. Let's meet them.

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A Parent’s Report from the Advances in IBD – 2016 Conference

Come the end of the year, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) organizes Advances in IBD, a medical conference dedicated to topics in IBD research and care. The foremost clinically-oriented IBD meeting in the US, this conference attracts both adult and pediatric clinicians.

Per tradition, Advances in 2016 is held in Florida. And, that is how I found myself in the Magic Kingdom, rubbing shoulders not only with Mickey and Minnie but with the biggest names in IBD. As the parent of a 12 year old child living with Crohn’s disease, I was attending in the hopes of moving beyond the ‘IBD 101’ webinars and the usual CCFA-supported patient educational sessions to gain a higher-level understanding of the issues at the cutting edge of IBD management. If knowledge equals power, I needed to level-up and Advances seemed like the perfect place to do so. Unfortunately, I learned there is no clear path for parents or patients to register for this conference (co-production comes slowly in medicine). But, after some discussion with the good folks at CCFA, I was able to sign-on as a physician (having gone to medical school does come in handy), even though I am neither a gastroenterologist nor an IBD specialist. So, it was as a parent-mole that I sat among the sea of clinicians, feeling a bit like an imposter, and jotting down what I found of greatest interest from the perspective of a person affected directly by IBD. What follows are these observations – admittedly filtered by my personal experiences as #DadofkidwithIBD

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29 reasons I may be unintentionally ignoring you

I’m Wendy and in addition to being a baby/child sleep coach (I love helping families sleep), I care for my 5 year old daughter who was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in September 2016. As we have been adjusting to life with IBD I’ve been journaling how I am spending my time. When our pediatric GI introduced us to ImproveCareNow I wanted to share my story to support others who may be going through a difficult time and to hopefully explain why I may be unintentionally ignoring friends and family.

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Here are 29 ways I have been spending my time:

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Crohn's, I Thank You

I often ask myself if I would rather live my life with or without Crohn’s. The answer, to be honest, is still unclear to me. I obviously would absolutely love to live without the pain that comes with it, but I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it. Surprising as it sounds, I have found that Crohn’s comes with perks that no one talks about. If you Google “Crohn’s” (or any chronic illness for that matter), you’ll likely find some pretty crazy, freaky stuff out there. I think it’s rare to find any of the positives. Well, I’m here to tell you about some of what I’ve noticed in my own life - so buckle up ladies and gentlemen!!

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My Story in Extremes

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Five years ago today, on February 21, 2012, I was diagnosed with IBD.

Thinking back on my five years living with IBD, I realize that there have been many ups and downs, with struggling and succeeding, falling backwards and moving forward. I was 16 years old and in perfect health, up until about two months before my diagnosis, when I started experiencing severe symptoms. It was all so sudden and impactful. I went from being perfectly healthy to being extremely sick; from having no symptoms to having every symptom on the IBD list. On the five year anniversary of my diagnosis, I thought what better way to look back and reflect than to highlight some of the extremes in my story:

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Implementing Transition & Transfer of Care Systems in Pediatric IBD

Studies of transition readiness in young adults with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (also known as Inflammatory Bowel Disease or IBD) suggest that patients often lack disease-specific knowledge and are not confident in their ability to manage their disease. This can lead to worsening disease activity and increased healthcare utilization.

Preparing young patients with IBD to transition from pediatric to adult care, and actively transferring care to the adult care team, is crucial to ensuring the continued effective management of IBD. Within ImproveCareNow, the Transition Task Force is focusing on transition and transfer of care across the network.

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What's the buzz on Buzzy?

Liz is a mom of three whose youngest son was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (UC) at age five. To manage his UC he takes Humira injections, which are known to be painful. Liz remembers vividly how stressful and difficult it was to get past the pain and anxiety on injection day. The process of negotiating would take nearly an hour, and when the shot was finally given everyone was totally drained. Not willing to accept that this was just the way it had to be, Liz started researching and discovered Buzzy - a device that distracts from injection pain by confusing nerves with both temperature and vibration.

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Notes from the Field – Improving Engagement Together

Several teams have been meeting regularly as a part of the ImproveCareNow (ICN) Engagement Campaign, to learn about and test tools and ideas to increase parent and patient engagement at their centers. These were all teams that were struggling to find parent partners who wanted to be involved just one year ago. During their most recent check-in call, the group ended up having a vibrant discussion where they shared successes, big and small, and learned from each other how to continue to increase engagement.

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