Called MyGut, and compatible with iOS and Android, the free user-friendly digital tool is designed to help patients track, understand, and manage their journey with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, the two most common forms of IBD.
“As a patient-centered organization, we remain committed to improving the lives of everyone living with Crohn’s or colitis while we continue to chart the course towards cures,” Mina Mawani, president and CEO, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, said in a press release. “We developed MyGut to provide patients with a convenient and practical tool that helps them become more involved in decisions about their care, and in turn helps them to facilitate conversations with their healthcare providers.”
The app’s design and features result from discussions the organization had with patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers. It offers a personalized dashboard and features that help people with IBD make decisions about their health.
“We created this app to continuously evolve based on patient needs,” Mawani said. “This is adaptable technology at its very best. As we move forward, we’ll continue to listen closely to our community to identify how we can expand and refine the apps’s components.”
App features include a platform that helps users keep track of symptoms such as pain and diarrhea, and lifestyle habits, including diet and sleep. By updating the activity tracker daily, users can identify health trends.
Through the app, patients also have access to a database of resources aimed at helping people with IBD live well. Educational topics include diet and nutrition, medications and treatment, pain and symptom management, IBD complications, and lifestyle and travel. Based on individual patient profiles, the dashboard is regularly updated.
Articles of likely patient interest will appear on users’ dashboards, based on answers to quality-of-life surveys presented every two weeks and health assessment questionnaires offered every six months.
“There isn’t any other app that offers this level of support,” said Jordan LoMonaco, a Toronto-based business intelligence analyst who has lived with ulcerative colitis for six years.
“Being able to track my symptoms and daily activities provides a better understanding of how I have been feeling and what a normal day looks like. I wish an app like this existed when I was diagnosed, as it would have helped me better manage my disease earlier,” LoMonaco said.
In addition to helping patients communicate symptoms, lifestyle habits, and overall wellness to healthcare professionals, MyGut enables them to generate downloadable reports based on activity tracking and completed questionnaires.
MyGut, which will help advance research and insight into IBD, will be used in Promoting Access and Care through Centres of Excellence (PACE), one of the largest clinical research IBD programs in Canada.
“We look forward to piloting MyGut in PACE Centres of Excellence located throughout Canada,” said Neeraj Narula, MD, the project’s co-leader. “The app has strong potential to further improve quality of care for patients living with these diseases.”
Canada has among the highest rates of IBD in the world, with annual costs to the country of $2.6 billion. By 2030, the number of patients in Canada is projected to exceed 400,000.