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Delivering High Value Inflammatory Bowel Disease Care Through Telemedicine Visits

Li, Shawn X. BS*; Thompson, Kimberly D. MS*,†; Peterson, Tracey RN; Huneven, Shelley BA; Carmichael, Jamie BA; Glazer, Fredric J. BS; Darling, Katelyn AA; Siegel, Corey A. MD, MS*,†

doi: 10.1097/MIB.0000000000001210
Future Directions and Methods in IBD Research

Background: Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) require regular follow-up to manage their care, which requires significant amount of time and out-of-pocket costs. Telemedicine in the form of video virtual visits could serve as an alternative to in-office visits. The aim of this project was to understand if telemedicine can provide high value care (defined as quality/cost) to outpatients with IBD.

Methods: Patients who participated in the IBD telemedicine clinic in the second half of 2015 were included. Patient-reported survey data before and after the virtual visit were collected. A retrospective review was performed on the study cohort for quality outcome measures a year before and after starting the telemedicine clinic. Outcomes were analyzed using simple descriptive statistics. Differences in quality outcomes were compared using odds ratios.

Results: Forty-eight patients were included in the analysis. Most patients travel more than 25 miles each way, take half a day off, and on average incur an additional out-of-pocket cost of $62 for an in-office visit. Most patients (98%) agreed that there was enough time spent with their physician, 91% agreed that they felt like the physician understood their disease state, and 78% reported that they clearly understood the follow-up plan after the visit. Analysis of quality outcome measures did not show any drop in the overall quality of care, after initiating the telemedicine program.

Conclusions: Telemedicine offers a low cost and convenient alternative for patients with IBD without compromising quality of care.

Article first published online 16 August 2017.

*Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine, Hanover, New Hampshire; and

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, New Hampshire.

Address correspondence to: Shawn X. Li, BS, Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine, 1 Medical Drive, Lebanon, NH 03756 (e-mail: shawn.x.li.med@dartmouth.edu).

The authors have no conflict of interest to disclose.

Received April 09, 2017

Accepted May 31, 2017

© Crohn's & Colitis Foundation
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