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Ochsner J. 2019 Fall;19(3):210-219. doi: 10.31486/toj.18.0086.

Health Maintenance and Vaccination of Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Practice and Perception of Responsibility of Gastroenterologists vs Primary Care Providers.

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Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO.
Department of Internal Medicine, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO.
Saint Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO.


Background: Although it is well established that patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are at increased risk of complicating diseases and vaccination-preventable infections, whether gastroenterologists (GIs) or primary care providers (PCPs) assume responsibility for these patients' health maintenance is not clear. Methods: We anonymously surveyed a convenience sample of 94 PCPs and 61 GIs at Saint Louis University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, about their practice and perception of the health maintenance and vaccination of patients with IBD. Results: Response rates were 82% and 93% for GIs and PCPs, respectively. GIs were as likely as PCPs to screen for smoking (88% vs 89%) and were significantly less likely to screen for depression/anxiety (24% vs 54%) or to provide pertussis (14% vs 44%) or diphtheria (20% vs 48%) vaccines. GIs were significantly more likely than PCPs to assess for colonoscopy need (94% vs 80%); to screen for nonmelanoma skin cancer (62% vs 14%), melanoma (56% vs 7%), osteoporosis (72% vs 51%), or tuberculosis (94% vs 44%); to prescribe calcium/vitamin D (74% vs 53%); to perform nutritional assessment (78% vs 33%); or to provide hepatitis A (60% vs 39%) or hepatitis B (86% vs 56%) vaccines. GIs were as likely as PCPs (64% vs 75%) to perceive that PCPs should order vaccinations and significantly more likely to perceive that GIs should track vaccinations (58% vs 16%) and other health maintenance issues (90% vs 49%). We found positive associations between performing the various health maintenance and vaccination tasks and the perception of responsibility. Conclusion: Several health maintenance aspects are inadequately addressed by GIs and PCPs, in part because of conflicting perceptions of responsibility. Clear guidelines and better GI/PCP communication are required to ensure effective health maintenance for patients with IBD.


Delivery of health care; inflammatory bowel diseases; risk; vaccination

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