Virtual care for Canadians living with IBD

Canadians with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) who receive care from gastroenterologists have better outcomes, including lower risk of surgery or unplanned hospitalizations. However, individuals living in rural or remote areas are often underserviced and experience greater challenges in receiving timely access to care by a gastroenterologist, including having to travel greater distances to attend their appointments. 

Virtual care involves connecting a patient with their gastroenterologist, allowing for timely visits through phone calls or a secure online video platform. There is evidence to show that virtual care helps to reduce the gap in access to timely IBD care and improve health outcomes for those who live in remote and underserved communities across Canada, including a better sense of control over IBD symptoms, adherence, self-efficacy and knowledge about IBD.   

Canadian Network for Virtual Access to Specialists - Inflammatory Bowel Disease (CaNVAS-IBD)

To decrease wait times and unplanned hospitalizations for individuals living in rural or remote communities, CaNVAS-IBD has established a virtual care hub at an IBD Centre of Excellence in six provinces. Each virtual care hub is led by a gastroenterologist and virtual care coordinator.

An IBD Centre of Excellence is a clinic where a multidisciplinary team of healthcare providers work together to deliver specialized care in the treatment and management of IBD. Through CaNVAS-IBD, individuals can connect and visit with an IBD healthcare team in a timely manner. They will also have access to a multidisciplinary team that could include surgeons, IBD nurses, dieticians, psychologists, social workers and other specialists.

Crohn’s and Colitis Canada & PACE

Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is the only national, volunteer-based charity focused on finding the cures for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and improving the lives of children and adults affected by these diseases.

The Promoting Access and Care through Centres of Excellence (PACE) network brings together leading inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) centres from across the country to improve health outcomes, address gaps in care and develop solutions that can create changes in the public healthcare system. 

Through PACE, Dr. Geoffrey Nguyen and his team at Sinai Health System piloted the Ontario IBD telemedicine program. CaNVAS-IBD aims to expand the Ontario IBD telemedicine program to a national IBD virtual care program, with virtual care hubs located in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec.

  • 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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