Benefits of implementing a rapid access clinic in a high-volume inflammatory bowel disease center: Access, resource utilization and outcomes

Sofia Nene, Lorant Gonczi, Zsuzsanna Kurti, Isabelle Morin, Kelly Chavez, Christine Verdon, Jason Reinglas, Rita Kohen, Talat Bessissow, Waqqas Afif, Gary Wild, Ernest Seidman, Alain Bitton, Peter Laszlo Lakatos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND Emergency situations in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) put significant burden on both the patient and the healthcare system. AIM To prospectively measure Quality-of-Care indicators and resource utilization after the implementation of the new rapid access clinic service (RAC) at a tertiary IBD center. METHODS Patient access, resource utilization and outcome parameters were collected from consecutive patients contacting the RAC between July 2017 and March 2019 in this observational study. For comparing resource utilization and healthcare costs, emergency department (ED) visits of IBD patients with no access to RAC services were evaluated between January 2018 and January 2019. Time to appointment, diagnostic methods, change in medical therapy, unplanned ED visits, hospitalizations and surgical admissions were calculated and compared. RESULTS 488 patients (Crohn’s disease: 68.4%/ulcerative colitis: 31.6%) contacted the RAC with a valid medical reason. Median time to visit with an IBD specialist following the index contact was 2 d. Patients had objective clinical and laboratory assessment (C-reactive protein and fecal calprotectin in 91% and 73%). Fast-track colonoscopy/sigmoidoscopy was performed in 24.6% of the patients, while computed tomography/magnetic resonance imaging in only 8.1%. Medical therapy was changed in 54.4%. ED visits within 30 d following the RAC visit occurred in 8.8% (unplanned ED visit rate: 5.9%). Diagnostic procedures and resource utilization at the ED (n = 135 patients) were substantially different compared to RAC users: Abdominal computed tomography was more frequent (65.7%, P < 0.001), coupled with multiple specialist consults, more frequent hospital admission (P < 0.001), higher steroid initiation (P < 0.001). Average medical cost estimates of diagnostic procedures and services per patient was $403 CAD vs $1885 CAD comparing all RAC and ED visits. CONCLUSION Implementation of a RAC improved patient care by facilitating easier access to IBD specific medical care, optimized resource utilization and helped avoiding ED visits and subsequent hospitalizations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-769
Number of pages11
JournalWorld journal of gastroenterology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Feb 21 2020



  • Crohn’s disease
  • Emergency department
  • Quality-of-care
  • Rapid access
  • Ulcerative colitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

Cite this

Nene, S., Gonczi, L., Kurti, Z., Morin, I., Chavez, K., Verdon, C., Reinglas, J., Kohen, R., Bessissow, T., Afif, W., Wild, G., Seidman, E., Bitton, A., & Lakatos, P. L. (2020). Benefits of implementing a rapid access clinic in a high-volume inflammatory bowel disease center: Access, resource utilization and outcomes. World journal of gastroenterology, 26(8), 759-769.