Smartphones to help inflammatory bowel disease sufferers
Both (l to r) Professor Laurence Egan, gastroenterologist and head of the Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics at NUI Galway and IBD research nurse Áine Keogh will be on hand at the Irish Society for Colitis and Crohn's Disease Information Day on Saturday at the Salthill Hotel, Galway, 2-5pm, to outline the expected benefits of more frequent patient updates via their smartphone.
By Mary O’connor
Smartphones are to be used to deliver care for people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
The HRB clinical research facility (CRFG) at NUI Galway is supporting research utilising smartphones for the care of patients with the condition.
Professor Laurence Egan, a gastroenterologist at University Hospital Galway and Professor of clinical pharmacology and head of the department of pharmacology and therapeutics at NUI Galway is the principle investigator for this research study.
The research aims to assess a new smartphone application or ‘app’ in the care of patients with IBD (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) to see if patient care can be improved by using this. Patients record their IBD symptoms daily on the ‘app’.
This information is then sent securely to the clinical research team at NUI Galway. The data is reviewed twice weekly by the IBD research nurse Áine Keogh. If patient symptoms deviate from a normal level this will alert the IBD nurse who will then contact the patient and consult with the medical team to direct the patient’s care appropriately.
Together with recording symptoms patients can record if they have missed their medication dose. It is hoped that this reminder will help improve medication compliance. Previous studies have demonstrated that using static telephones to follow up IBD patients improves patient satisfaction with their care.
However, the use of smartphones to help deliver more personalised health care has not been tested in a scientific setting. This study will test the technology and explore if patients using a smartphone software application to record their daily symptoms will help prevent flare ups of their condition through close monitoring by clinicians and therefore reduce hospitalisations and improve their health and wellbeing.
It is envisaged that that the use of smartphone technology may also help improve the care of other groups of patients with chronic medical conditions. Patients with asthma, diabetes, chronic pulmonary disease and depression may benefit from the use of mobile phone technology.
The ‘app’ was designed by Open Brolly (Scotland in collaboration with an NHS Scotland Highland surgeon, Angus Watson.
Recruitment for the study will take place at Irish Society for Colitis and Crohn’s disease meeting being held on Saturday from 2pm to 5pm at the Salthill Hotel.
For more information on the study contact the HRB clinical research facility at (091) 494281 or (086) 7845554 or log onto www.crfg.ie