This study aims to determine whether group education or online audio-visual information is more effective in helping to develop effective self-care practices for individuals with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

How will the IBS School study be conducted?

The research team will compare how patients respond to each approach and what happens to their symptoms in two distinct groups. One group of patients will be assigned to group education via an “IBS School”, the other to online audio-visual information via “IBS Online”.

The study will be open to IBS patients between the ages of 18 and 70 who will be randomly assigned to one of these approaches.

The research team

The Principal Investigator is Dr Anton Emmanuel, Lecturer & Consultant Gastroenterologist at University College London Hospital. Clinical Research Fellow and PhD student Valentina Passananti will lead the project.

Also contributing will be Mr Chris Perrin, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Cognitive Psychology and Health within the GI physiology unit, Lee Martin, Dietician, Natalia Zarate-Lopez, Specialist Physician and Julie Storrie, Specialist Nurse; all of University College London Hospital.

Why is the IBS School important?

IBS affects up to 20% of people in the UK, and is a chronic condition of the digestive system causing bouts of abdominal pain and constipation or diarrhoea. It can severely affect people’s quality of life and costs the NHS annually a similar amount to treating Type II diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

With such an impact on quality of life and significant costs to the healthcare budget, effective patient education can be a positive way of helping people to manage their conditions as well as help reduce costs for the health service of dealing with IBS.

New technology, particularly online audio-visual information, offers a way to provide information to patients, but as yet a comparison has not been studied as an alternative to a group approach.