Telemedicine’s Past, Present and Future Role in Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Care

Telemedicine’s Past, Present and Future Role in Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Care 1024 683 Erin Gregory

A recent study sheds light on how telemedicine’s use during the pandemic has reshaped care delivery for children with IBD.


A recent study published in Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition utilized electronic medical record data to compare the volume, duration and nature of office and telemedicine visits for pediatric patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) at Nationwide Children’s Hospital from April 2019 to December 2020.

The study, authored by Hilary K. Michel, MD, an attending pediatric gastroenterologist at Nationwide Children’s, and Jennifer L. Dotson, MD, MPH, co-director of the Center for Pediatric and Adolescent Inflammatory Bowel Disease at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, analyzed the adoption rates of telemedicine across various sociodemographic factors, providing a comprehensive overview of its impact.

Efficiency of Telemedicine

The transition to telemedicine not only preserved the number of patient visits but also significantly reduced the length of appointments compared to traditional office visits. This efficiency gain did not compromise the quality of interaction between patients and health care providers, as the time spent with providers remained consistent across both visit types.

Clarified Demographic Insights

The study clarified that telemedicine adoption was significantly higher among patients with commercial insurance compared to those without, emphasizing the impact of insurance status on telemedicine utilization.

Access and Disparities:

While telemedicine presented an opportunity to improve access for patients living farther from health care facilities, the study highlighted potential disparities.

Dr. Dotson says, “In this study, publicly and uninsured patients were less likely to have telemedicine visits, and less likely to have video (vs. audio) visits than commercially insured patients. The potential for decreased access to care in this group is concerning, as public insurance has been associated with other adverse outcomes in patients with IBD such as delayed diagnosis, unsuccessful transfers from pediatric to adult care, fragmented care and treatment nonadherence.”

Implications and Future Directions

The corrections and clarifications provided in an erratum published on March 1, 2024, offer a more nuanced understanding of how demographic factors influence telemedicine adoption in pediatric IBD care. These insights are pivotal for health care providers and policymakers aiming to enhance the accessibility and effectiveness of telemedicine services.

As the health care industry continues to evolve, ensuring that telemedicine is accessible and appealing to all patients remains a vital goal for medical professionals. The study provides critical insights into the successes and challenges of implementing telemedicine in pediatric IBD care, highlighting the need for continued innovation and policy adjustments to ensure equitable access to these valuable services.

“As the health care industry progresses in response to technological advancements and challenges like COVID-19, studies like this provide essential insights,” says Dr. Dotson. “They highlight successes and areas needing attention to ensure innovations like telemedicine bridge, rather than widen, gaps in health care accessibility and quality.”



Michel HK, Gorham TJ, Lee JA, Liu SB, Wright M, Maltz RM, Dotson JL. Impact of Telemedicine on Delivery of Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Care. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. 2023 Oct 1;77(4):519-526. Epub 2023 Jul 28. Erratum in: J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2024 Mar 1.

About the author