Improving Rural Care

Canadians with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that receive care from gastroenterologists have better outcomes, including lower risk of surgery or unplanned hospitalizations. However, individuals that live in rural areas may have a hard time getting cared for by a gastroenterologist. For many that do find a gastroenterologist, they have to travel far to attend their appointment.

Woman talking to physician over tablet

In 2016, Dr. Geoffrey Nguyen and his team at Sinai Health System started a pilot test of an IBD telemedicine program in Ontario through the Ontario Telemedicine Network. The goal was to show this solution could improve health outcomes by connecting Canadians with IBD living in rural areas with a gastroenterologist at an IBD centre of excellence. 

Telemedicine involves connecting a patient with their healthcare provider through a secure online video. Additionally, individuals who use telemedicine have access to a team at an IBD Centre of Excellence that includes not only a gastroenterologist, but also surgeons, nurses, dietitians, social workers, and other specialists. 

In 2021, Dr. Nguyen’s team is growing the telemedicine network to include additional IBD centres. IBD nurses will lead the expansion of the program and facilitate virtual care in underserviced regions in these provinces. 

Early results suggest a national telemedicine program may:

  • reduce wait times to see a gastroenterologist;
  • minimize the trouble, stress and cost related to travelling to an IBD centre for appointments;
  • decrease the number of people who need to stay in the hospital to receive care;
  • lower the number of emergency room visits;
  • increase satisfaction with the care given;
  • improve the quality of life for individuals living with IBD; and
  • improve health outcomes.

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CONTACT INFORMATION


To learn more about the PACE network, please contact:

Katy Devitt
Manager, Research Programs
kdevitt@crohnsandcolitis.ca
416-920-5035 x229
 

The PACE network is supported by Crohn’s and Colitis Canada and our funding partners:

Woman talking to physician over tablet
Woman talking to physician over tablet
Woman talking to physician over tablet
Woman talking to physician over tablet
Woman talking to physician over tablet

  • Canada has among the highest incidence rates of Crohn's and colitis in the world.
  • 1 in 140 Canadians lives with Crohn’s or colitis.
  • Families new to Canada are developing these diseases for the first time.
  • Incidence of Crohn’s in Canadian kids under 10 has doubled since 1995.
  • People are most commonly diagnosed before age 30.

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