Optimising the inflammatory bowel disease unit to improve quality of care: Expert recommendations

Edouard Louis*, Iris Dotan, Subrata Ghosh, Liat Mlynarsky, Catherine Reenaers, Stefan Schreiber

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction: The best care setting for patients with inflammatory bowel disease [IBD] may be in a dedicated unit. Whereas not all gastroenterology units have the same resources to develop dedicated IBD facilities and services, there are steps that can be taken by any unit to optimise patients' access to interdisciplinary expert care. A series of pragmatic recommendations relating to IBD unit optimisation have been developed through discussion among a large panel of international experts. Methods: Suggested recommendations were extracted through systematic search of published evidence and structured requests for expert opinion. Physicians [n = 238] identified as IBD specialists by publications or clinical focus on IBD were invited for discussion and recommendation modification [Barcelona, Spain; 2014]. Final recommendations were voted on by the group. Participants also completed an online survey to evaluate their own experience related to IBD units. Results: A total of 60% of attendees completed the survey, with 15% self-classifying their centre as a dedicated IBD unit. Only half of respondents indicated that they had a defined IBD treatment algorithm in place. Key recommendations included the need to develop a multidisciplinary team covering specifically-defined specialist expertise in IBD, to instil processes that facilitate crossfunctional communication and to invest in shared care models of IBD management. Conclusions: Optimising the setup of IBD units will require progressive leadership and willingness to challenge the status quo in order to provide better quality of care for our patients. IBD units are an important step towards harmonising care for IBD across Europe and for establishing standards for disease management programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-691
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Crohn's and Colitis
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Crohn's disease
  • Decision making
  • Delivery of healthcare
  • Interdisciplinary communication
  • Tertiary care centres
  • Ulcerative colitis


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