Are primary care providers uncomfortable providing routine preventive care for inflammatory bowel disease patients?

Dig Dis Sci. 2011 Mar;56(3):819-24. doi: 10.1007/s10620-010-1329-8. Epub 2010 Jul 29.


Background and aims: Those with chronic diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), often do not receive preventive care at the same rate as the general population. Attitudes of primary care providers could be key factors in the receipt of preventive care.

Methods: We surveyed attendees of a family medicine review course. The survey contained nine demographic items, four items to assess exposure to and comfort level with IBD, and six clinical vignettes.

Results: Of surveys, 36% (61/169) were returned. The large majority were males practicing outpatient family medicine. Mean age was 51 years, and 48% reported a mostly rural practice. Of subjects, 10% reported either having IBD themselves or having a close associate or relative with IBD. Only 37% of subjects felt comfortable providing primary care across a range of illness severity. Forty-six percent reported moderate or high exposure to IBD. For the case vignettes, the overall highest rate of endorsement of the active role was 84% for a case related to stage I hypertension, while the lowest rate was 30% for an item relating to vaccination for immunosuppressed persons. We assessed the following predictors of comfort level and active role responses and found no significant associations: age, gender, years of medical practice, and close contact with IBD.

Conclusions: Our study suggests that family medicine practitioners often do not feel comfortable providing care to IBD patients. Lack of familiarity with IBD medications may be a key factor.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / prevention & control
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Preventive Health Services*
  • Severity of Illness Index