SOURCE: The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA)

May 07, 2013 12:26 ET

Empowering Crohn's Patients With an Interactive Decision Aid

Shared Decision Making Enables Patients to Better Manage Their Disease

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - May 07, 2013) - The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) introduces an interactive, web-based decision aid to its members in support of shared decision making between patients and their providers. The 25-minute decision aid combines voice, image, on-screen text and interactivity to define Crohn's disease, explain the potential natural progression and the risks, benefits and tradeoffs of various treatment options. It is being distributed through a unique partnership between the CCFA, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, and Emmi Solutions.

"People with Crohn's disease are an Internet-savvy group and I wanted something that would be fresh, interactive and lively, as well as easier to follow than point-and-click web sites," said the interactive decision aid's medical advisor, Corey Siegel, MD, Director, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and recent Co-chair of CCFA's Professional Education Committee.

While treatment options for Crohn's disease are improving, they can be difficult to understand. In addition, treatments can have side effects that frighten patients. According to Dr. Siegel, the program can impact two major challenges in the treatment of Crohn's disease:

1. Medications aren't meant only to address the symptoms of the disease, but perhaps more importantly to prevent progression and prevent complications by addressing the inflammation at the root of Crohn's disease.

2. Patients are fearful about side effects associated with the medications and often wait until they are experiencing very significant symptoms to start treatment, and by then, it may be too late.

"Patient feedback has been overwhelmingly positive," said Dr. Siegel, who is preparing to launch a national 15-center study to analyze outcomes for the decision aid. "Crohn's disease is a complex disease and, despite our best efforts to explain treatments, many patients are scared of our most effective medications. They don't fully understand why they should consider medications with potentially serious side effects until watching the program."

Physicians provide patients with a unique access code to view the program at their convenience on any computer. The technology enables providers to track compliance and measure outcomes. The program takes less than a minute for physicians to send to patients.

"This will not replace physician-patient conversations, it will only add to those conversations in a fruitful way," said Kimberly Frederick, Senior Vice President of Mission at CCFA. "We think it will be well received by members because patients will come to appointments informed about options, armed with information and thus helping them feel empowered to make shared decisions about their care with their physicians."

"The physician-patient relationship is evolving from the traditional paternalistic model in which a doctor decides on a treatment course without significant patient input to a model where patients' values, goals and preferences guide them to the best treatment options for them," added Bob Tavares, VP of Care Management, Emmi Solutions. "We are pleased to be able to offer decision aids that can effectively address complex, high-stakes decisions and bring about greater awareness of options, recognition of the unique preferences of each patient and avoidance of incorrect assumptions by physicians about what is best for patients."

About the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) is the largest voluntary non-profit health organization dedicated to finding cures for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD). CCFA's mission is to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults who suffer from these diseases. The Foundation works to fulfill its mission by funding research, providing educational resources for patients and their families, medical professionals, and the public, and furnishing supportive services for those afflicted with IBD. For more information, visit, call 888-694-8872, find us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

About Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

Dartmouth-Hitchcock is a national leader in academic medicine, particularly in evidence-based and patient-centered health care, medical research, and health care policy reform. Its system includes hundreds of physicians, specialists and other providers who work together to meet the health care needs of more than 1.5 million patients in Northern New England. Patients have access to specialists in almost every area of medicine with primary care services at local community practices, as well as world-class research at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. For more information, visit, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

About Emmi Solutions, LLC

Emmi Solutions is the pioneer of outcomes-driven patient engagement. Emmi offers a complete solution that engages patients and has repeatedly shown that it can improve clinical and financial outcomes. Emmi uses a multi-modal platform to deliver actionable information to patients while supporting the goals of traditional and emerging models of care. Emmi®programs have been prescribed to over four million patients-using language they understand, at their convenience, and on devices they already own. The Emmi platform enables providers to track compliance and measure the outcomes of effective patient engagement. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter and find us on Facebook.

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