New models of health care emphasize the critically important role of primary care in managing patients’ health. However, primary prevention and management of conditions can be addressed by primary care teams only when there is open communication about ailments. Unfortunately, some conditions, like fecal incontinence (FI), are often unreported in primary care. FI is defined as accidental solid and/or liquid leakage of stool or mucus. Estimates of prevalence are not precise, varying between 7 percent and 15 percent among community dwellers. Though there are strategies for management of FI in primary care, patients are often embarrassed to discuss their condition with their provider and, similarly, primary care providers rarely screen patients for FI. As a result, many patients live silently with FI, often with reduced quality of life.
In Tier 1 we developed the Fecal Incontinence in Primary Care Consortium, a partnership of patients, researchers, clinicians, and stakeholders who are committed to primary care comparative effectiveness research (CER) that will improve the quality of life for people living with fecal incontinence. Together, the consortium identified and prioritized ideas for CER topics that are relevant and important to consortium members.
In Tier II the consortium will explore the feasibility, viability, and acceptability of the CER topics identified in Tier I, and, collaboratively, we will select a primary research question that we will pursue in Tier III.