The challengeIBS affects approximately 11% of the world’s population. While not life-threatening, IBS can have drastic physical and emotional impacts on people who suffer from the condition. Despite being one of the most commonly encountered disorders in primary care and gastroenterology, IBS has historically been viewed as benign, often disregarded as unimportant or not a legitimate disease. These misconceptions, coupled with a lack of IBS awareness among some health-care professionals (HCPs), can leave patients feeling stigmatized and suffering for years without a formal diagnosis or symptom relief.
The solutionWe collaborated with a multidisciplinary group of HCPs (gastroenterologists, primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants) and patient advocates to form the ‘IBS CounSEL’ to provide “Support, Education, and Leadership” to achieve excellence in the care of people with IBS. The IBS CounSEL has led the development of clinically implementable disease state education materials and tools for use by HCPs treating patients with IBS.
The outcomeLaunch of IBSCounSEL.com, a site containing materials and tools developed by the IBS CounSEL, was very positively received by members of the clinical community – a survey of representative HCPs showed that 83% would visit the site again and 86% would recommend the site to colleagues. As the site grows, awareness increases, and as new educational materials are developed the IBS CounSEL members believe the initiative will have positive impact on the lives of people who suffer with IBS. The work completed so far is just the beginning!