IBD In America 2019

HCP Communication Missing Piece to Helping People With Crohn’s and Colitis Find the Right Treatment

Biologic therapies are a key area of focus in research in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)–which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis–that can be used to treat the disease by reducing inflammation, relieving symptoms, and helping the patient to enter and stay in remission. IBD In America 2019, a Health Union survey of 1,705 people living with a form of IBD, reveal there may be opportunities to help strengthen conversations about biologic therapies between people with IBD and their healthcare professionals (HCP).

The survey data reveal more than half of people living with a type of inflammatory bowel disease are not currently using a biologic or JAK inhibitor medication–and they’re also experiencing difficulties in a variety of aspects throughout their treatment journey. The survey respondents who are not currently using a biologic therapy are more likely than current users to say they don’t feel their condition is under control on their current treatment plan*, but it goes deeper: the survey data ultimately shows this subset of biologic users are more likely to be dissatisfied with their relationship with their doctor than their counterparts–which might be at the core of several other issues these survey respondents have identified.

HCP satisfaction can be a crucial part of a person’s journey navigating a chronic health condition like Crohn’s or colitis. Non-biologic users in the IBD In America 2019 survey respondents were more likely to report the following when compared to current biologic users:*

  • They do not feel satisfied with the care they receive from their HCP
  • They do not feel their HCP completely agrees with them on the severity of their IBD
  • They do not feel they receive easy-to-understand test results from their HCP
  • They do not feel their HCP clearly explains their treatment options
  • They do not feel their HCP understands their questions and concerns about having IBD

When a person is living with a chronic condition like Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, feeling heard and understood is an integral part of being able to trust their HCP and feel supported enough to explore and adopt different types of treatments.

Further, the survey data shows a connection between non-biologic users and potential challenges they may have with treatment compliance. Those survey respondents not currently using a biologic therapy were more likely to report the following when compared to current biologic users:

  • They do not feel it’s easy for them to take their medication when and where they’re supposed to*
  • They change their medication dosing and timing to figure out what works best for them**
  • They waited three or more years to start any kind of prescription medicine

Listening to patients, understanding their needs, and fostering open and honest conversations about treatment options could help people with Crohn’s or colitis finally find a solution that works for them and ideally feel more in control of their condition. Engagement on Health Union’s growing portfolio of online communities combined with large scale patient-reported data from its syndicated In America surveys can offer unique insight and understanding into the patient journey that can lead to creating smarter, more effective solutions.

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*Bottom 2 box on a 7-point scale.

**Top 2 box on a 7-point scale.