Leading Hospitals in Belgium: Improving IBD Care Through Collaboration
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is an interruptive, life-long disease that affects more than 6.8 million people each year. With no cure on the horizon and no data-driven, standardised approach to treating their IBD patients, physicians at three Belgian hospitals knew there was room for improvement. So they sought out to improve.
To Better Track Chronic Disease, Physicians Looked to Standardise
The key to caring for patients with IBD is tracking the progression of the disease over time. However, due to the limited standardisation of data collection between hospitals, and even between hospital visits, it was often difficult for care teams to effectively follow along.
Additionally, with electronic medical records that don’t allow for extensive data analysis and no clear way to learn from other hospitals, physicians knew that they were missing out on opportunities to compare findings and establish benchmarks that could help their patients. So Peter Bossuyt, Lieven Pouillon, Didier Baert, and Filip Baert – lead physicians from the Belgian hospitals Imelda, AZ Maria Middelares, and AZ Delta respectively – took action to transform what was possible in IBD care.
The physicians set out to create a digital care pathway to help care teams collaboratively track their patients’ progression through key indicators.
As part of its Value Based Healthcare strategy, AMGEN enabled this partnership by coordinating the collaboration and bringing in Value Based Healthcare expertise. This created a mutual beneficial environment to optimise patient care.
Using Awell Health, a collaborative platform which enables practitioners to create and implement care pathways and guidelines, build evidence, and ultimately improve outcomes, they enacted the pathway – which includes the ICHOM standard set and three other IBD questionnaires (PRO2, SSCAI and IBD Disk). The data collected through those questionnaires is displayed in real-time through dashboards that offer heat maps and line graphs, enabling care teams to better analyse their own patients’ journeys and better construct benchmarks for future care.
In addition to the care pathway, the lead physicians also established the first official IBD benchmarking initiative in Europe, choosing a subset of indicators to be their framework for standardisation, based on the most recent (2019) European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation (ECCO) Position Statement. With a digital dashboard allowing care teams to share best practices and learn from each other, the future of IBD care looks promising — with even more expanding and refining of standardisation on the way.
IBD care is a small world – we’ve all run into each other over the years. Thanks to the standardised process of the ICHOM standard set and the Awell care pathways, we have been able to built the trust in our collaboration that is required to be transparent about outcomes. Dr. Bossuyt – Gastroenterologist, IBD specialist
To Enhance Overall Care, They Put Patient-Reported Data First
With every patient with IBD experiencing a different disease trajectory (in terms of symptoms, severity, and treatment options), patient-reported data is integral to providing personalised care. But, without the right tools to reach patients outside of appointment times, share data across multidisciplinary care teams, and store data for comparison, it can be difficult for care teams to get the holistic patient-reported data they need.
Using the Awell collaborative platform, the physicians involved with the new digital pathway could bypass those issues, allowing for patient-centric care to flourish.
The benefits of Awell’s technology on patient care thus far have been far-reaching. Physicians have noticed an increase in productivity within patient appointments due to the questionnaires being answered ahead of time; with patients reporting their own health status, their caregivers are able to get to the core of what matters most to them quicker. And, since the questions are being answered on their own time, patients don’t experience the same sense of pressure to remember and explain everything quickly, leading to a clearer picture for the care team.
With this level of individualised, patient-centric care, patients feel more understood and an abundance of new data is getting collected for future clinical research. It’s therefore clear that the shift to a care pathway fueled by a patient’s own experiences allows care teams to monitor their patients’ progression more holistically, and ultimately provide more tailored support to those suffering from IBD.
“Thanks to the automated questionnaires and transfers to the electronic medical record, there’s extra time in patient appointments for candid discussion about different aspects of their health. This is valuable for both patients and practitioners, as it gives us a broader understanding of the patient as a whole. Not just in terms of their health, but in terms of their quality of life.” - Dr. Bossuyt – Gastroenterologist, IBD specialist