Dr. Vojislav Jovanovic and Dr. Dustin Loomes are pleased to know that their vision will soon become reality. The gastroenterologists are excited to see the new Vancouver Island Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Clinic open at Royal Jubilee Hospital. Funding from Island Health, the division of gastroenterologists and the South Island Medical Staff Association (through Facility Engagement support) will support a new nurse and clinic space. When it opens in January, the clinic will help IBD patients with more timely care and help reduce emergency department use.
IBD patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis experience symptom flare-ups. These are the sudden onset of symptoms like pain, diarrhea and bleeding that require urgent care. Before the IBD clinic, these patients had to call their gastroenterologist’s office to seek advice or book an appointment - the process could take days before receiving treatment and some patients would have no choice but to seek emergency care, which is not ideal for IBD patients.
With the new Vancouver Island IBD Clinic, the IBD nurse will be the main point of contact for patients, will be able to provide some care and will liaise with all gastroenterologists to ensure patients know what to do during flare-ups. Patients will receive care quicker and receive some treatment from a dedicated nurse. The clinic will also improve the continuity of care, act as the patient’s medical home and patients will not rely on emergency department visits during flare-ups.
“This clinic will bring the ‘medical home model’ to IBD care,” said Dr. Loomes. “We will improve patient care with our multidisciplinary care team.”
Dr. Loomes and Dr. Jovanovic trained together at the University of Alberta and saw the benefits of the medical home clinic model there. Medical research supports the clinic-model for IBD patients as the savings of from avoided complications, emergency visits and admissions outweigh the costs.
“As Victoria is growing our patient volumes have increased and we saw the opportunity to establish this clinic,” says Dr. Jovanovic. “This is good patient care and it’s cost-effective.”
The IBD referral process remains the same with the centralized intake process (fax 1-888-398-7091).
The IBD clinic is the latest innovation in improving care from the gastroenterology group. They launched a unique smoking cessation program earlier this year that has helped several patients quit and are piloting tele-medicine to expand the reach of their services across the island. Stay tuned for more information.