The aim of this study is to define that There is little literature related to access to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) care that incorporates the perspective of key system stakeholders, such as primary healthcare providers (PHCP), despite their clear and integral role in facilitating access.This study aimed to identify barriers to referring patients to speciality IBD care as perceived by referring PHCP. In particular, we sought to understand PHCP satisfaction with the current IBD specialist referral system, as well as indicators of geographic variance to access.

A population-based survey was mailed out to currently practising PHCPs who have referred or who are currently referring patients to IBD speciality care in Nova Scotia (Canada). Descriptive statistics and multivariate analyses were performed. Qualitative comments were themed using framework analysis to identify key barriers. The majority of PHCP (57%) were dissatisfied with the current referral process due to long patient wait times and perceived system inefficiency. Key areas of geographic variance in access included access to speciality care in the community and patient wait times. PHCPs suggested ideas to improve access including increased gastroenterologist supply, particularly in rural areas, and the creation of a provincial centralized referral and triage process.

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