Two separate studies presented at the American College of Gastroenterology’s 78th Annual Scientific Meeting in San Diego analyze inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) health outcomes in the United States and Canada. IBD, which includes both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, is a chronic inflammatory condition of the intestinal tract and is estimated to affect over 1.4 million people in the United States.
The first study is a survey on national health care access for patients with IBD, performed by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). Lead author David Rubin, MD, FACG, professor of medicine at the University of Chicago Medicine, said “This national survey identified a significant number of IBD patients with inadequate access to, or difficulties with, their healthcare.
Twenty-five percent of the nearly 4,000 patients surveyed indicated they had delayed getting medical care in the past year, and of that percent, more than half stated this was due to cost of care. These numbers, while discouraging, are an important first step to better understand why patients with IBD may not be getting the best treatments possible.”
The survey, developed using the Centers for Disease Control National Health Interview Survey, is the first to evaluate IBD patients’ access to health care. The CCFA delivered the 76 question survey to thousands in their national patient dataset and posted it on their website and social media channels. Of the 3,802 IBD patients who responded, 63 percent were working, 17 percent were not working and not seeking employment, and 10 percent were unemployed and seeking employment. Most patients said it was very difficult to find adequate healthcare coverage and continue to afford it. A majority of patients also said they had skipped doses of medication, delayed filling a prescription, making an appointment with their physician, or scheduling a test due to costs.
Further analysis of the data is ongoing and the CCFA, along with other organizations, will continue to advocate for patients with IBD who need better coverage and support.