Quality improvement efforts in the Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases span a variety of topics including colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Previously, we found that 45 percent of eligible UCLA patients had not undergone colon cancer screening. We have since launched a continuous quality improvement program to increase screening rates by messaging patients and providers prior to their next primary care visit. We are currently focusing our efforts upon reaching patients who infrequently utilize primary care.

IBS is a common disease affecting about 10-20% of the population but its symptoms can be difficult to diagnose and treat. We are utilizing a large administrative claims database to track low value healthcare utilization in IBS (such as repeat CT scans, or colonoscopy in a young person without alarm symptoms), with the aim of improving patient outcomes and decreasing unnecessary testing.

In IBD, we have taken a unique, comprehensive approach to long-term outpatient care by developing a novel mobile health application that allows patients to learn more about their disease, track symptoms, send messages to clinic staff, and enroll in modules designed to improve their nutrition, physical activity and overall wellness. In preliminary studies, use of our mobile application reduced patients’ relapse rate by half, and decreased hospitalizations and emergency department visits by 79% and 69% respectively. We have now integrated the application with the UCLA electronic medical record and plan to enroll a large a cohort of IBD patients for further study. 

Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil
Folasade P. May, MD, PhD, MPhil

Dr. May's research includes quality improvement and quality assurance for colorectal cancer screening programs at UCLA Health, the Greater Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, Los Angeles County Department of Health Services centers and Federally Qualified Health Centers.