Objectives: Variations in chronic illness care are common in our health care system and may lead to suboptimal outcomes. Specifically, inconsistent use and suboptimal medication dosing have been demonstrated in the care of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Quality improvement (QI) efforts have improved outcomes in conditions such as asthma and diabetes mellitus, but have not been well studied in IBD. We hypothesized that QI efforts would lead to improved outcomes in our pediatric IBD population.
Methods: A QI team was formed within our IBD center in 2005. By 2007, we began prospectively capturing physician global assessment (PGA) and patient-reported global assessment. Significant QI interventions included creating evidence-based medication guidelines, joining a national QI collaborative, initiation of preclinic planning, and monitoring serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D.
Results: From 2007 to 2010, 505 patients have been followed at our IBD center. During this time, the frequency of patients in clinical remission increased from 59% to 76% (P < 0.05), the frequency of patients who report that their global assessment is >7 increased from 69% to 80% (P < 0.05), and the frequency of patients with a Short Pediatric Crohn's Disease Activity Index (sPCDAI) <15 increased from 60% to 77% (P < 0.05). The frequency of repeat steroid use decreased from 17% to 10% (P < 0.05). We observed an association between the use of a vitamin D supplement (P = 0.02), serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (P < 0.05), and quiescent disease activity.
Conclusions: Our results show that significant improvements in patient outcomes are associated with QI efforts that do not rely on new medication or therapies.