Availability of online patient-focused materials associated with fewer unanswered questions among IBD patients attending MRIs

An audit  examining the impact of new multimedia materials for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients having small bowel MRI scans has highlighted the potential benefits of more interactive online resources compared to generic information. 

The audit aimed to assess the feasibility and impact of new patient-focused materials delivered through an online platform, IBDmate, which was created by IBDrelief, compared to generic information, on patients' expectations prior to their magnetic resonance enterography (MRE) (a type of MRI scan).

The new materials were conveniently delivered to patients through the interactive web-based app IBDmate. This user-friendly platform provided patients with easy access to comprehensive information, featuring videos of healthcare professionals and patients, anytime and anywhere they preferred.

The results showed promising outcomes but also highlighted the potential benefits for patients undergoing this procedure and were outlined in a poster at the British Society of Gastroenterology’s annual meeting today (June 21). The audit was carried out at University College London Hospital (UCLH) NHS Trust in conjunction with Motilent and funded through part of a grant from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) invention for innovation award (NIHR201000).

The target group was made up of IBD patients with upcoming MREs, who were randomly assigned to either the Control group (receiving generic information) or the Intervention group (receiving new patient-focused materials via the IBDmate platform). 

Participants were invited to review the provided information and complete a pre-scan questionnaire, which assessed their understanding and levels of anxiety/worry using a scale of 1 to 5.

Out of the total 152 adult patients contacted, 78 were assigned to the Intervention group, while 74 were assigned to the Control group. The response rate for the Intervention group was 36%, while the Control group showed a slightly higher response rate of 45% (p = 0.35).

A noteworthy finding was that in the Control group, 10 out of 33 questionnaire respondents (30%) had unanswered questions, compared to only 1 out of 28 respondents (4%) in the Intervention group (p = 0.02). This indicates that the new patient-focused materials in the Intervention group were successful in addressing most of the participants' concerns.

Although no significant differences were observed in the overall questionnaire responses between the two groups, there was a noticeable trend suggesting an improved understanding of the side effects of mannitol and the necessity of breath holds in the Intervention group.

The audit also found that providing more detailed information through the online IBDmate platform did not increase anxiety or worry among patients.

Dr Paul Harrow, consultant gastroenterologist, UCLH said: “The study's findings are encouraging as they demonstrate the feasibility of delivering patient-focused materials through an online platform. Positive responses from patients indicate that this platform can effectively provide information about tests or treatment to enhance patient understanding and satisfaction."

Prof Stuart A Taylor, consultant GI radiologist, at UCLH said: “These results lay the foundation for future investigations into the impact of online patient-focused materials on the quality of acquired images and the overall patient experience of MRE.”

Seb Tucknott, co-founder and CEO of IBDrelief, said: “At IBDrelief we are passionate about empowering patients and improving their experience of living with IBD. Through providing comprehensive education, delivered in a user-friendly way, we aim to enhance understanding and ultimately improve patient outcomes. The results from this study are encouraging and I’m looking forward to seeing future work in this area.”

IBDmate is an online education platform that has been created by IBDrelief. It is currently in use by IBD patients at several paediatric hospitals in the UK and is looking to be rolled out to adult IBD patients soon.

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