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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 22 (2008), Issue 3, Pages 281-287

Self-Management for People with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Fred Saibil,1,2 Emily Lai,2 Andrew Hayward,2 Jeanne Yip,3 and Cameron Gilbert4

1Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto, Canada
2Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
3Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
4Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland Medical School, Dublin, Ireland

Received 30 September 2007; Accepted 1 October 2007

Copyright © 2008 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In North America and the United Kingdom, we are in the age of self-management. Many patients with chronic diseases are ready to participate in the therapeutic decision-making process, and join their physicians in a co-management model. It is particularly useful to consider this concept at a time when physician shortages and waiting times are on the front page every day, with no immediate prospect of relief. Conditions such as diabetes, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, recurrent urinary tract infections and others lend themselves to this paradigm of medical care for the informed patient. The present paper reviews some of the literature on self-management for the patient with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and provides a framework for the use of self-management in the IBD population, with emphasis on the concept of a patient passport, and the use of e-mail, supported by an e-mail contract, as proposed by the Canadian Medical Protective Association. Examples of specific management strategies are provided for several different IBD scenarios. Eliminating the need for some office visits has clear environmental and economical benefits. Potential negative consequences of this form of patient care are also discussed.