Computational Simulation Model to Predict Behavior Changes in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patients during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Analysis of Two Regional Japanese Populations

J Clin Med. 2023 Jan 18;12(3):757. doi: 10.3390/jcm12030757.


Managing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a major challenge for physicians and patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. To understand the impact of the pandemic on patient behaviors and disruptions in medical care, we used a combination of population-based modeling, system dynamics simulation, and linear optimization. Synthetic IBD populations in Tokyo and Hokkaido were created by localizing an existing US-based synthetic IBD population using data from the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare in Japan. A clinical pathway of IBD-specific disease progression was constructed and calibrated using longitudinal claims data from JMDC Inc for patients with IBD before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Key points considered for disruptions in patient behavior (demand) and medical care (supply) were diagnosis of new patients, clinic visits for new patients seeking care and diagnosed patients receiving continuous care, number of procedures, and the interval between procedures or biologic prescriptions. COVID-19 had a large initial impact and subsequent smaller impacts on demand and supply despite higher infection rates. Our population model (Behavior Predictor) and patient treatment simulation model (Demand Simulator) represent the dynamics of clinical care demand among patients with IBD in Japan, both in recapitulating historical demand curves and simulating future demand during disruption scenarios, such as pandemic, earthquake, and economic crisis.

Keywords: COVID-19; Crohn’s disease; biologics; computer simulation; inflammatory bowel disease; pandemic; ulcerative colitis.