Background Management of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients can be very challenging. Nurse navigators (NNs) have demonstrated great promise for coordinating care of complex disorders but little is known about their impact on the setting of IBD. We undertook this study to evaluate how the introduction of a NN in a dedicated IBD clinic would influence several outcomes related to patient care. Methods A retrospective chart review was performed evaluating Penn State IBD clinic patients receiving care a year before and after the introduction of a dedicated NN to the clinic. No-show rates, new appointments in less than 21 days, total clinic visits per month, and patient enrolment in our IBD registry and biorepository were measured prior to and after hiring of the NN between 2 providers. Each provider and their composite data were statistically compared using univariate analysis. Results After hiring the NN, there was a statistically significant decrease in combined no-show rates (P=0.02). There was no significant difference in the combined average number of new appointments in less than 21 days (P=0.62) or total clinic visits per month (P=0.09). Enrolment in the database and biorepository increased (from 83% to 90%). Finally, 97% were satisfied with the NN’s services, and 94% were satisfied with the IBD education they provided. Conclusions Hiring a NN in our clinic was associated with high patient satisfaction, reduced no-show rates, and increased research participation. Thus, incorporation of a NN can improve care in an IBD-centered gastroenterology clinic.
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