Crohns & Colitis Congress

Crohns & Colitis Congress

February 09, 2019
1 min read

Significant barriers remain for patients accessing IBD care

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LAS VEGAS — Patients with inflammatory bowel disease still view factors such as diagnostic delay and communication issues as critical barriers to accessing care for their disease, according to data presented at Crohn’s and Colitis Congress 2019.

Courtney Heisler, MSc, of Nova Scotia Health Authority, said that access to service is not a new issue in IBD, but few studies have sought to find a patient perspective.

“We had patients pause, sit back and think about their journey with IBD,” she said during her presentation. “Beginning from symptoms presentation to present day, what does that generally look like? How did their symptoms manifest? When were they diagnosed?”

Researchers recruited adult patients with IBD to give input on their disease trough a series of focus groups held throughout eastern Canada. They are currently recruiting patients for more focus groups in western Canada.

Investigators recruited 20 patients as of October 2018 (55% male; 50% from urban/suburban regions; mean age 44 years).

Using qualitative thematic analysis software, Heisler and colleagues found that the main patient-identified barriers to accessing IBD care fell into three categories:

  • lack of multidisciplinary care that includes psycho-social support;
  • diagnostic delay and inability to effectively receive; and,
  • provide communication with health care providers.

Patients in the study also believed that integration of holistic care, psychiatric and nutritional support, as well as increased patients advocacy and utilization of health care navigators could be solutions to existing problems.

Heisler said the current system of care simply is not designed with the patient in mind.

“We need to incorporate the patient voice into the decisions and changes we make,” she said. “Without the patient voice, we’re not going to be able to improve and even understand the way patients access care. If we’re able to provide patients with more access to care, we can side step those negative health outcomes.” – by Alex Young


Heisler C, et al. Abstract 06. Presented at: Crohn’s & Colitis Congress; Feb. 7-9, 2019; Las Vegas.

Disclosure: Heisler reports no relevant financial disclosures.