Digital Health Monitoring Platforms Feasible for IBD Management

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The MyGut digital health monitoring platform proves feasible and impactful during integration into inflammatory bowel disease care.

Digital Health Monitoring Platforms Feasible for IBD Management | Image Credit: Jonas Leupe/Unsplash

Credit: Jonas Leupe/Unsplash

Individuals with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have proven compliant to merge digital health monitoring platforms into their gastroenterological care, which could benefit quality of life and improve symptom control, according to new data presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) 2024.1

The management of IBD could benefit from integrating an optimized, proactive management strategy, given its need for frequent medical follow-up—still, more information is needed to determine which patients with IBD would benefit most from these interventions.

“Overall, IBD is a condition that often necessitates frequent medical follow-up and may benefit from proactive symptom management strategies,” wrote the investigative team, led by Jamie Zhen, McMaster University. “This study demonstrates that patients with IBD are very willing to integrate digital health monitoring platforms into their care and these may subsequently lead to improved symptom control and enhanced quality of life.”

Evidence has linked the presence of IBD, including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (UC), with higher rates of common mental disorders, including depression and anxiety, compared with the general population.2

Patients with a chronic disorder and an anxiety or depressive disorder are likely to face poorer quality of life, demonstrate worse treatment adherence, and experience higher rates of morbidity and mortality.

Meanwhile, advancements in digital health monitoring platforms represent the collision of self-management strategies with traditional care of many disease states, including IBD. The IBD health monitoring platform, MyGut, could incite improvements in quality of life and health outcomes—this study assessed patients’ acceptance of the platform and sought to determine the viability of long-term use of MyGut.

The multi-center, single-arm trial at McMaster University and McGill University was performed from September 2020 to 2023—participants diagnosed with IBD were recruited from the gastroenterology clinics. These patients were asked to download the MyGut application onto their smartphones.

For the analysis, various MyGut metrics were collected during the course of the study, including the willingness to use the application, patient satisfaction, symptom control, quality of life scores, resource utilization, and feasibility statements. The Short Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire (SIBDQ) measured the symptom control and quality of life scores.

Those who indicated abnormal SIBDQ scores were identified and underwent follow-up in the study. After one year, Zhen and colleagues compared patient outcome metrics to baseline values.

Among 84 patients initially enrolled in the study, 58 (69%) continued use of MyGut until the study ended at 1 year. At recruitment, all patients indicated their willingness to use the MyGut application following a tutorial and nearly three-quarters (72.6%) had previously used technology for health-related purposes.

Upon analysis, Zhen and colleagues identified a significant improvement in SIBDQ scores after one year of MyGut use (median, 57.5) compared with baseline scores (median, 54.5; P = .01). Yet, the investigative team saw only 42.9% of patients were willing to continue using MyGut after 1 year—this was a significant decrease compared with the 71.9% indicating their willingness to continue after 2 months (P = .002).

Patient satisfaction scores (P = .42 to 1) or the number of emergency room visits or hospitalizations (P = .78) showed no differences before and after one year of MyGut use, according to the investigative team.

“Future studies should aim to investigate the subset of patients that would benefit most from these health interventions, and as illustrated, continued efforts must be made to optimize the acceptability/feasibility of its long-term use,” Zhen and colleagues added.

References

  1. Zhen J, Simoneau M, Germain P, Marshall J, Waqqas A, Narula N. Acceptability, Feasibility, and Impact of the Mygut Digital Health Monitoring Platform in the Monitoring and Management of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Lecture presented at Digestive Disease Week 2024, May 18 - 21, 2024.
  2. Byrne G, Rosenfeld G, Leung Y, et al. Prevalence of Anxiety and Depression in Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Can J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2017;2017:6496727. doi:10.1155/2017/6496727
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