ImproveCareNow earns Drucker Prize for tackling IBD

The ImproveCareNow network has received the 2016 Drucker Prize and $100,000 from the Drucker Institute. Given annually, the award recognizes one non-profit organization that meets Drucker’s definition of innovation, “change that creates a new dimension of performance.” University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital is the only ImproveCareNow center in Iowa.

The network supports a collaborative community of clinicians, researchers, improvement coordinators, parents, and patients focused on improving care for pediatric patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Established in 2007, it includes 92 centers and 790 pediatric gastroenterologists, primarily located in the United States.

Dawn Ebach, MD

“It’s a learning health system, where we continuously share research, ideas, and best practices to further patient care and new knowledge,” says Dawn Ebach, MD, clinical associate professor of pediatric gastroenterology, UI Stead Family Department of Pediatrics, ImproveCareNow coordinator.

IBD, which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, is a chronic condition affecting the digestive tract. It can lead to significant growth and development issues due to malabsorption and ongoing inflammation and may also contribute to delayed puberty, fatigue, anemia, joint paint, liver and eye problems, and skin abnormalities.

ImproveCareNow centers collect data on more than 25,000 IBD patients—including growth, weight, and medications—to monitor overall health, compare outcomes, and identity effective treatment strategies. Patient data is also used in smaller retrospective studies to better understand the disease and its impact.

The first prospective research studies were recently launched by the network, using input from nurses, physicians, and parents to hone the focus to two specific topics: dietary therapy and methotrexate with anti-TNF combination drug therapy. UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital will participate in the drug therapy study and hopes to enroll participants in early 2017.

“The inclusion of parents and patients is a valuable aspect, as they help drive our research priorities” says Ebach. “But their perspective is vital to the purpose of the network, especially at conferences where 300 people, all interested in IBD, are working to identify new approaches to this disease.”

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