Inflammatory bowel diseases and the general practitioner’s role in a region of Central Italy
Paolo Sossai1,2, Fabio Filippetti3, Ali Ahmad Muselmani4, Giambattista Catalini4
1Department of Medicine, “Enrico Mattei” Hospital, Viale Europa, I-62024 Matelica, Italy; 2Center of Clinical Research, Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Camerino, Via M Scalzino, 3, I-62032 Camerino, Italy; 3Epidemiological Unit, Marche Region, Via Gentile da Fabriano, 3, I-60125 Ancona, Italy; 4Department of Surgery, General Hospital, Via Caselle, I-62032 Camerino, Italy
Background: Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are a serious burden for both patients and health care providers because of the young age at which they occur and their chronic course.
Aim: The purpose of this study was to assess how general practitioners (GPs) in the area of Camerino-Matelica, Marche (Central Italy) manage their patients with IBD.
Materials and methods: Before providing an educational course about IBD to GPs, we administered a simple questionnaire containing 10 multiple-choice questions, allowing for only one possible answer, to GPs in the target area. After the educational course we administered a satisfaction questionnaire and evaluated the hospitalization rates for IBD in the catchment area in the year following the course.
Results: In our GP sample, 71.8% indicated that they needed better instruction regarding IBD to enable them to diagnose the conditions given the difficulties posed by nonspecific symptoms and the need to use invasive diagnostic methods such as colonoscopy. Early results after the educational course for GPs indicate a reduced rate of hospitalization for IBD but these data must be confirmed by future research.
Conclusions: If specialists and GPs managed IBD patients more carefully, their patients would probably suffer from fewer relapses and would have a better quality of life, which would be likely to mean considerable cost savings for the public health care system and society in general.
Keywords: inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, general practitioner