Study Authors

Erealda Prendaj, MD and Gitit Tomer, MD

Study Background

Maintenance of health and preventative care lead to better outcomes in patients with chronic illness. IBD patients are less likely to go to the Emergency Department (ED) if they have seen their gastroenterologist within the year. The frequency of office visits depends on disease activity and therapeutic regimen, but regular office visits at least twice a year are recommended even when patients are well, in order to provide maintenance of health and monitor for drug toxicity.

This study is important to ImproveCareNow (ICN) and the larger pediatric IBD community because it highlights that through quality improvement (QI) interventions, we can improve patient follow up rates. We followed Model IBD Care Guidelines developed by the ICN Network, which recommends follow-up visits twice a year. Additionally, we utilized data from the ICN registry to conduct this study.

Study Overview

The aim of this study was to increase the percentage of IBD patients with follow-up visits within 200 days (~6 months). The global aim was that improving timely visits would improve the maintenance of health and care. We studied data from all patients enrolled in ICN, in our center, from January 2013 to September 2016.

Study Limitations

One limitation of our study is the relatively small number of patients, 84 patients. Another limitation is the heterogeneous (diverse) population of our community, which may not be reflective of other center populations.

Study Results – What does it all mean?

The percentage of visits within 200 days increased from 64% to 83% (p < 0.0001), and this increase was sustained for one year (in fact, it remains at >80% to this date). The most common reasons for no visits were patient non-adherence with appointments (50%) and relocation/transition to an adult provider (25%).

Using the population management tool (provided through ICN) and focused QI interventions, we improved the rate of patients with a follow-up visit within 6 months. The process is simple and can be applied to patients with other chronic illnesses.

Prepared by: Erealda Prendaj, MD and Gitit Tomer, MD
Reviewed by: Parent Working Group Research Subcommittee
About ICN Research Explained: We believe that in order to truly outsmart IBD, the questions we ask and the answers we find must be generated by and be useful to the people whose lives they will impact – patients and their families. ImproveCareNow (ICN) research is prioritized based on what matters most to patients and parents, and we are committed to sharing our results so everyone can understand and take advantage of what’s been learned. The ICN Research Committee has teamed up with the Parent Working Group Research Subcommittee to bring you this series of parent-approved research summaries called “ICN Research Explained".


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