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P251. Information resources and inflammatory bowel disease – Who is informing our patients?

R.O. Butcher, T. Law, J.K. Limdi

Pennine Acute Hospitals, Manchester, United Kingdom

Aim: There has been a paradigm shift in attitudes and perceptions of patients with Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in relation to treatment over the last two decades. An unprecedented expansion of information and technology has created an environment of increasing health consciousness with the potential for beneficial and detrimental effects to patients. Our study aimed at identifying the sources of information relied upon by patients for their IBD.

Materials and Methods: We conducted a prospective questionnaire-based study of 104 consecutive patients attending IBD clinics at our hospital. Patient demographics, disease duration, characteristics and patient's educational level were noted. Access and use of information technology and other information resources were recorded. Patients were asked to list Internet sites they visited for IBD health-related information and grade the trust to information received on a visual analogue scale. Information obtained from health professionals, other patients, family, friends and sources were noted.

Results: Fifty-four of the 104 IBD patients were female. The median age range was 45–64 years. The highest educational level was high school/comprehensive in 48 (46.2%), sixth-form/technical college in 15 (14.4%), university graduate in 34 (32.7%) and postgraduate in 5 (4.8%) patients with 2 unspecified. Nineteen patients (18.3%) were members of Crohn's and Colitis UK.

Eighty-three patients had Internet access. Eighty (96.4%) patients accessed the Internet at home with 30% (25) gaining access at work. Fifty-one patients (61.5%) used Internet for health-related information. Other popular reasons for Internet use were recreation (57), news/sport (44), shopping (43), work (36) and travel (36). The most popular site was Crohn's and Colitis UK (24) with 22 “useful” and 0 “poor quality” ratings. Wikipedia was second (21) with 13 “useful” and 5 “poor quality” ratings. Other popular websites were Digestive disorders (14), Crohn's disease in the UK/IBD (14), Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (7) and BBC medical notes (11). The median grading attributed to information on the internet on a visual analogue scale (0 – Not trustworthy; 10 – Very trustworthy) was 6.1 with internet felt to improve understanding of disease in 38, therapy in 29 and hospital choice in 5 patients respectively.

Other sources of information used were the Gastroenterologist (88), GP (57), Other patients (12), Other health professionals (16), Library (9), Pamphlets (24), Friends/family/colleagues (18), Television (6) and DVD's/CD's (3). Satisfaction was highest with information received from the Gastroenterologist (52 patients extremely satisfied) compared with only 7 patients who obtained information from the Internet.

Conclusion: The use of information technology in patients with IBD is increasing. Patients continue to rely on clinicians for reliable information. The popular notion that information from the Internet is reliable is not entirely correct particularly with the unregulated nature of the Internet. This underpins the need for clinicians to remain vigilant to the information need and usage in patients with IBD with appropriate guidance at follow-up visits.