ECCO Country Member Profiles: Czech Republic
Name of group: The Czech IBD Working Group
Number of active members: The Czech IBD Working Group has no official membership, but there are approximately 30 active participants who attend the meetings and participate in group activities.
Number of meetings per year: The group organises three or four meetings per year.
President and Secretary: There is no official president and secretary, but the coordinator of the group is Martin Bortlik.
National Representatives: Pavel Drastich and Dana Duricova
Joined ECCO in:
The Czech IBD Working Group became a member of ECCO in 2002.
Incidence of IBD in the country: According to an international epidemiological study – the ECCO-EpiCom study – the incidence of IBD in 2010 was 12.7/100,000 inhabitants (5.6 for CD and 5.8 for UC).
What has changed since your society became an ECCO Country Member?
Over the past 18 years the Czech IBD Working Group has become a well-established and respected expert society in the field of IBD in the Czech Republic, with the participation of gastroenterologists, paediatricians and surgeons with a special interest in IBD.
The Group formally represents the Czech Republic within ECCO and delegates National Representatives. The Group has been continuously working on improvement of patient care by organising regular educational activities for physicians and nurses and publishing national guidelines on various topics relating to IBD.
An important activity of the Group is close collaboration with the Czech patient organisation for IBD. The Group also participates in discussions and negotiations with health insurance authorities regarding the system of reimbursement of medical care for IBD patients.
What are the benefits to you of being an ECCO Country Member?
ECCO played a significant role in the history of the Czech IBD Working Group. The Group became a member of ECCO in 2002 and had already collaborated on the organisation of the first intensive ECCO Course for young gastroenterologists, which took place at Charles University in Prague and became an inspiration for a similar annual event at the national level.
ECCO has helped our society to optimise diagnostic and treatment strategies, to improve collaboration with patients’ organisations and to participate in international research. The ECCO Network provides an excellent opportunity for information sharing and exchange of experiences. Last but not least, the educational activities of ECCO (ECCO Congress, Intensive Advanced Course for Trainees, e-CCO Learning Platform) represent an excellent opportunity for all physicians to gain up-to-date knowledge in IBD.
Is your society making use of the ECCO Guidelines?
Our Group regularly prepares national guidelines on various IBD topics which are published in the official journal of the Czech Society of Gastroenterology, “Gastroenterology and Hepatology”, and the ECCO Guidelines serve as a basis for the preparation of these recommendations.
Have you developed research projects with other countries through your ECCO Country Membership?
We had been participating in an international epidemiologic study – the ECCO-EpiCom study – which assessed the incidence of IBD across Europe. Furthermore, the study evaluated the disease course of IBD and several other aspects of the disease, including environmental risk factors, health-care related quality of life, health care costs of IBD, anaemia etc.
Have you developed educational activities with other countries through your ECCO Country Membership?
Since the beginning of the millennium our society has been collaborating closely with our Slovak colleagues. The main result of this collaboration is represented by the Czech–Slovak IBD symposium, which takes place every year alternately in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Has your country been involved in a fellow exchange through your ECCO Country Membership?
Yes, our country has been involved in a fellow exchange through ECCO, which provides an excellent opportunity for young physicians to participate in international collaboration and exchange experiences.
What are your main areas of research interest?
Our main area of research interest is clinical research in IBD. The Group, or at least some of its members, have been participating in several research projects, both international and local.
However, there is still a lot work to be done on improving our research activities and collaboration between the Group centres.
Does your centre or country have a common IBD database or bio bank?
We have a national registry of IBD patients on biological and innovative therapy called “CREdIT”, which was established with the support of the Czech Society of Gastroenterology.
The aim of the registry is to prospectively collect basic information on the use of biologic and innovative therapy in the Czech Republic, including the data on treatment course and outcome, and thus contribute in improving the effectiveness and safety of this type of treatment. Participation in the registry is free of charge and is open to all centres providing biological and innovative treatment for patients with IBD.
What are your most prestigious/interesting past and ongoing projects?
As already mentioned, the Czech Republic was involved in the ECCO-EpiCom study – in both the incidence and the 5-year follow-up part. At the national level the Group participated in studies focussing on the safety of biological (anti-TNFa) therapy in pregnancy and on the impact of prenatal exposure to anti-TNFα on the long-term outcome of exposed children.
Currently, there are two ongoing projects that were initiated by the Group: A prospective study on faecal microbiota transplantation in patients with Ulcerative Colitis and a prospective study following up pregnancies exposed to novel biologicals – vedolizumab and ustekinumab.
Which ECCO Projects/Activities is the group currently involved in?
Currently, the Group as a whole does not participate in any ECCO Project or Activity, but some members of the Group are involved in an upcoming international CROCO study, which will assess bowel damage in newly diagnosed patients with Crohn’s Disease over time.
What are your aims for the future?
We would like to increase our activities in clinical research and to improve research collaboration between the centres as only a few projects have been completed by the Group so far.
Furthermore, we would like to continue our educational activities, including the organisation of meetings and symposia and the preparation of the national guidelines on different topics concerning IBD.
Last but not least, we would like to continue the cooperation with our Slovak colleagues, establish new international collaborations and participate in future ECCO Projects and Activities.
How do you see ECCO helping you to fulfil these aims?
ECCO offers several possibilities which might help us to fulfil our aims.
These include ECCO Travel Awards, Grants and Fellowships; possibilities to participate in international research projects supported by ECCO; various educational activities of ECCO and, very importantly, opportunities for networking and information sharing within the ECCO Community.
What do you use ECCO for? Network? Congress? How do you use the things/services that ECCO has to offer?
Most of the Czech physicians and nurses interested in IBD benefit from their membership of ECCO, which provides them with easier access to the ECCO Congress and other educational activities organised by ECCO as well as free access to JCC.
Furthermore, ECCO Consensus Papers on different IBD topics are greatly appreciated and are applied by more and more gastroenterologists and surgeons in their clinical practice. Other important advantages of being a member of ECCO are the opportunities for networking, information sharing and exchange of experiences during the ECCO Congress, other meetings and exchange programmes.
Finally, we appreciate the possibility to invite some of the leading experts in (not only) European IBD to participate in our national meetings and symposia.
Picture is subject to copyright © The Czech IBD Working Group