Delivering High Value Inflammatory Bowel Disease Care Through Telemedicine Visits

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Abstract

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.

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