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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2007 Oct 1;26(7):1005-18.

Differences in the management of Crohn's disease among experts and community providers, based on a national survey of sample case vignettes.

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  • 1David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Division of Digestive Diseases, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.



When faced with the same set of facts, healthcare providers often make different diagnoses, employ different tests and prescribe disparate therapies.


To perform a national survey to measure process of care and variations in decision-making in Crohn's disease, and the compared results between experts and community providers.


We constructed a survey with five vignettes to elicit provider beliefs regarding the appropriateness of diagnostic tests and therapies in Crohn's disease. We measured agreement between community gastroenterologists and Crohn's disease experts, and measured variation within each group using the RAND Disagreement Index (DI), which is a validated measure of provider variation.


We received 186 responses (42% response rate). Experts and community providers generally agreed on diagnostic testing decisions in Crohn's disease. However, there was a significant disagreement between groups for several decisions (use of 5-aminosalicylate in particular), and there was evidence of 'extreme variation' (defined as DI > 1.0) within groups across a range of decisions.


Although experts and community providers are in general consensus about diagnostic decision-making in Crohn's disease, extreme variation exists both between and within groups for key therapeutic decisions in Crohn's disease. We must understand and decrease this variation prior to future efforts of creating explicit quality indicators in Crohn's disease.

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