Patient, provider communication poor on how ulcerative colitis impacts quality of life: 4 study insights

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A study in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases found communication on quality of life outcomes is poor between ulcerative colitis patients and their gastroenterologists.

University of Chicago gastroenterologist David T. Rubin, MD, and colleagues attended visits for 23 gastroenterologists examining 68 patients in the United States and Europe with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis. Researchers then conducted separate patient and provider follow-up interviews and analyzed results using sociolinguistic methods.

Here's what they found.

1. In Europe and the United States, a majority of patients and providers did not discuss how ulcerative colitis would impact quality of life during visits.

2. In the United States, complete patient-physician alignment concerning quality of life was present in 40 percent of cases.

3. There was a variation in treatment goals between gastroenterologists and patients. Only 3 percent of U.S. patients said inflammation absence was a desired goal against 25 percent of gastroenterologists. However, gastroenterologists didn't always convey that goal during visits.

4. Physicians followed guidelines and framed biological therapies as being suitable for patients. However, many patients, despite the therapy being more aligned with their stated goals, considered biological therapy an option for more severe diseases than theirs.

Researchers concluded, "Alignment between patients and physicians on ulcerative colitis QoL impact, treatment goals and requirement of advanced therapies is poor. New tools are needed to cover this gap."

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