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Efficacy of a "contact center-based communication" in optimizing the care of inflammatory bowel diseases.

Digestive and Liver Disease, In Press, Accepted Manuscript, Available online 11 April 2016, Available online 11 April 2016



Telephone helplines are a useful vehicle for the management of chronic diseases even though data on how these can ease management of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is still scarce. AIM: to analyze our two-years’ experience with the first telephone helpline dedicated to IBD in Italy.


The main outcomes of using a contact center (CC) at our Unit were analyzed; all data was prospectively collected. Patients’ requests were classified into medical or non-medical. The percentage of hospitalized patients in the pre-CC period was compared to that after CC activation, to assess the potential clinical gain of using CC. The calls were divided into 5 categories to evaluate a potential correlation between patients’ number of calls and risk of hospitalization.


The CC received 11.080 calls and handled 11.972 requests. In particular, 63% of patients phoned monthly for a medical consultation, and 37% called for non-medical reasons. In 2012, the followed-up patients were 1.658 with 230 IBD-caused hospitalizations (14%); in 2014, the followed-up patients were 1.962 with 182 hospitalizations (9%) (p <0.01). The risk of hospitalization exponentially increased with the number of calls: from 3% for 0–5 calls to 41% with >30 calls (p <0.01).


A dedicated CC could provide additional clinical gain, care, and support for IBD patients.

Keywords: IBD, Crohn, Ulcerative colitis, contact center, adherence, IBD-helpline.


a Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, School of, Medicine Federico II of Naples Italy

b Dean of Medicine of A.O.U Federico II of Naples

Corresponding author. Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, School of Medicine Federico II of Naples.Via S. Pansini 5, 80131, Naples, Italy, Tel.: +39 0817463849; fax +39 0815465649