Systematic review: advice lines for patients with inflammatory bowel disease
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OBJECTIVE: Advice lines for patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) have been introduced internationally. However, only a few publications have described the advice line service and evaluated the efficiency of it with many results presented as conference posters. A systematic synthesis of evidence is needed and the aim of this article was to systematically review the evidence of IBD advice lines. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A broad systematic literature search was performed to identify relevant studies addressing the effect of advice lines. The process of selection of the retrieved studies was undertaken in two phases. In phase one, all abstracts were review by two independent reviewers. In phase two, the full text of all included studies were independently reviewed by two reviewers. The included studies underwent quality assessment and data synthesis. RESULTS: Ten published studies and 10 congress abstracts were included in the review. The studies were heterogeneous both in scientific quality and in the focus of the study. No rigorous evidence was found to support that advice lines improve disease activity in IBD and correspondingly no studies reported worsening in disease activity. Advice lines were found to be health economically beneficial with clear indications of the positive impact of advice lines from the patient perspective. CONCLUSION: The levels of evidence of the effect of advice lines in IBD are low. However, the use of advice lines was found to be safe, and cost-effective. Where investigated, patients with IBD overwhelmingly welcome an advice line with high levels of patient satisfaction reported.
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