Variation in Care of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Patients in Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America Partners: Role of Gastroenterologist Practice Setting in Disease Outcomes and Quality Process Measures

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As variation in care has previously been linked to quality, we aimed to describe variations in inflammatory bowel diseases care by gastroenterology (GI) practice setting.


We performed a cross-sectional study within the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America Partners and used bivariate analyses to compare patient characteristics by GI practice setting (GI-academic [GIA], GI-private, or GI-other). Regression models were used to describe the effects of provider type on steroid use, disease activity, and the quality of life.


The study included 12,083 patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (7576 with Crohn's disease [CD] and 4507 with ulcerative colitis [UC]). Nearly 95% reported visiting a GI provider annually. Also, CD patients seen by GIA were younger, better educated, used less 5-aminosalicylate agents, and had higher biologic and immunomodulator use (P < 0.001 for all). On multivariate analysis of CD patients, GIA used less steroids when compared with GI-private (odds ratio, 0.84; 95% confidence interval, 0.67–1.06) or GI-other (odds ratio, 0.66; 95% confidence interval, 0.49–0.89). GIA patients were more likely to be in remission, have flu vaccine, and have better quality of life. UC patients seen by GIA were younger, had more hospitalizations, and previous surgery (P < 0.001 for all). No differences existed for steroid use, remission, flu vaccine, or quality of life for UC care on bivariate or multivariate analyses.


Significant variations in care patterns and quality measures exist for CD across GI provider types, without similar variation in UC care. Interventions to reduce variations in care could improve the quality of care in CD.

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