Framing the future: 10 years of the UK Inflammatory Bowel Disease Audit

Dr Ian Arnott, clinical lead for the RCP's Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Audit Programme, reflects on the conclusion of the programme and the next steps for continuing to improve treatment and care for IBD patients.

Last month the Royal College of Physicians hosted an event celebrating 10 years of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Audit Programme. We invited many of our partners in clinical practice to join us to mark the success of the programme and its transition to the UK IBD Registry.

We used the opportunity to reflect on and thank many key people who influenced the start of the audit. To name a few: Jane Ingham, John Rhodes, Mike Pearson and Keith Leiper, who deserves a special mention. Keith passed away in the early years of the programme’s history but nevertheless had a huge influence and a lasting impact on the direction of the programme.

We were delighted to have Carrie Grant, campaigner, broadcaster and ambassador for Crohn’s & Colitis UK (a patient charity which champions the importance of the patient at the centre of care), address the audience. Carrie energised us all and reminded us how important patient engagement is. She advised clinicians not to be too focused on technology and treatment at the expense of seeing patients as their best advocates for further improvements in care. A patient is not just a person with a chronic disease, but also an individual with many aspects and assets, that should be acknowledged and utilised, especially in an environment where resources in the NHS are reportedly diminishing, she said. Her invaluable advice was for clinical teams to engage more with patients and encourage them to become key initiators in further improvements.

No-one can doubt the overwhelming evidence of the amazing influence the IBD audit has had on improving patient care across its five audit cycles over the last 10 years.

Dr Ian Arnott, clinical lead for the RCP's IBD Audit Programme

No-one can doubt the overwhelming evidence of the amazing influence the IBD audit has had on improving patient care across its five audit cycles over the last 10 years. There is now significantly increased provision and support for patients from both IBD nurses and pharmacists with a special interest in IBD, and many more multidisciplinary teams have been established. The biologics audit has shown that these are safe and effective and the most recent audit has shown that the equivalent in biosimilars are also safe and effective.

Perhaps most importantly, mortality in hospital has halved since the start of the audit in 2008. But despite the many improvements we know that there are still several more aspects of care for people with IBD that need to be improved.

What was discussed at length during the celebration day was the importance of continued data collection to ensure continued knowledge is acquired on the quality of care provided to people with IBD. This week the IBD Audit Programme formally transitioned to the UK IBD Registry. Clinicians are being encouraged to use the registry as the repository for vital data.

Going forward we should all be able to benefit from key data outputs from the UK IBD Registry. There are imminent plans to implement data visualisation tools such as run charts into the IBD Registry web tool. These will highlight good practice and variations from good practice and hopefully encourage clinical teams to continue their great work in driving improvement in IBD care. For the next 8 months the RCP will provide more learning opportunities to help IBD communities learn and engage more with quality improvement methods. Watch out for more information about this.

Finally, the IBD Audit Programme could not boast of any of its achievements without all the support from the many IBD and clinical audit teams and our stakeholders, including Crohn’s & Colitis UK, that have tirelessly contributed to the programme. Thank you!

The IBD Audit Programme was commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) as part of the National Clinical Audit and Patient Outcomes Programme (NCAPOP).