February 13, 2020
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Symptom severity, mood linked with patient satisfaction in IBS

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Factors like reduced disease severity and lower depression scores were associated with better satisfaction scores among patients with irritable bowel syndrome, according to study results.

“In chronic illnesses, such as pain and diabetes, higher patient satisfaction has been associated with improved clinical outcomes,” Sarah Ballou, PhD, of the division of gastroenterology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and colleagues wrote. “Given its importance, there is a need to understand the factors associated with patient satisfaction, especially in chronic and difficult to treat conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.”

For the study, consecutive patients who fit Rome IV criteria for IBS with no organic cause for their symptoms (n = 137) completed an electronic symptom survey at their initial visit and 3 to 6 months later. Researchers measured satisfaction using the IBS satisfaction with care scale (IBS-SAT). The scale includes five subscales that measure connection with health care providers, education, benefits of visits, office attributes and access to health care.

Most patients were “satisfied a great deal” (34.9%) or completely (18.6%) with care, while 6.2% were not satisfied at all and 14.7% were a little satisfied. Among the five subscales, “connection with health care provider” had the highest proportion of satisfied patients (93.4%), while “benefits of the visit” had the lowest (70.8%).

Ballou and colleagues found that decreased severity of IBS, higher follow-up GI visits, higher number of diagnostic tests during the follow-up period and higher number of recommendations made at the initial visit were associated with overall satisfaction scores in the 3 to 6 months after a patient’s initial visit. Additionally, lower depression scores at initial visit were associated with higher satisfaction.

Ballou and colleagues wrote that it was not surprising to see that symptom severity was linked with higher satisfaction. However, they wrote that it was interesting that severity at the initial visit did not predict treatment satisfaction.

“Clinically, this suggests that patients with severe IBS symptoms were as likely to be satisfied with their care as those with mild or moderate symptoms, particularly if they had improvement in their symptoms,” they wrote. “This is consistent with previous research indicating that symptom severity is not significantly associated with patient satisfaction in IBS or celiac disease.” – by Alex Young

Disclosure: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.