University of Vermont

Colletti and ImproveCareNow Team Publish IBD Study in Pediatrics

Professor of Pediatrics and ImproveCareNow Network Director Richard Colletti, M.D.
Professor of Pediatrics and ImproveCareNow Network Director Richard Colletti, M.D. (Photo by Raj Chawla, UVM Medical Photography)

A new study by a national quality improvement and research network demonstrates that a collaboration by physicians led to marked improvement in the outcomes of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), without introducing new drugs in treatment. Published online in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the study was conducted by ImproveCareNow, a national quality improvement and research network based at the University of Vermont and directed by Richard Colletti, M.D., professor and vice chair of pediatrics and a pediatric gastroenterologist.

The study focused on children with IBD – Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Data were analyzed from six participating centers and included 1,188 children treated between July 2007 and April 2010. Findings showed improvements in specific care processes. While the proportion of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis patients in remission increased, the percentage of Crohn’s disease patients taking corticosteroids decreased. 

 “These improvements were likely the result of changes in the care delivery systems rather than a single specific intervention,” says Colletti, who notes that he and his coauthors believe further study is needed to determine which combination of interventions is most critical to improving outcomes.

“It is clear, however, that forming an active, open learning community that is focused on data produces improvements in outcomes, as much as or more than a new drug,” says study co-author Peter Margolis, M.D., Ph.D., director of research at the James M. Anderson Center for Health Systems Excellence at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital serves as coordinating center for the ImproveCareNow network.

 Created in 2007, ImproveCareNow was designed to improve the care and outcomes of children with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The network now includes 33 centers, including Vermont Children’s Hospital at Fletcher Allen Health Care, with 300 gastroenterologists and 10,000 patients. The network developed a set of recommendations to standardize diagnosis and treatment, classify disease severity and evaluate nutritional and growth status. Participating centers implemented these standards for their IBD patients.  


(This article was adapted from a news release produced by ImproveCareNow.)