Can mHealth Apps replace clinic visits

In a recent article in the Journal of mHealth (Volume 3, Issue 3), McCombie and colleagues performed a systematic review of IBD symptom monitoring smartphone apps.  They found 233 separate apps on Google Play Store (Android) and Apple App Store (iPhone) that matched their search criteria for IBD. Out of this inital apps they included 17 apps for an in dept analysis for app store reviews, price, involvement of medical professionals in the development of the apps and the ability to record clincal symptoms. Only four out of the 17 apps were developed with the help of medical professionals and none was tested in a clinical settings in regard of usability and improvement of medical care of IBD patients.

They point out that the inclusion of fecal calprotectin measurement via an home test such as IBDoc® and other similar systems as an objective value would enhance the monitoring apps. In the authors’ view an integrated solution would be the best approach and studies are needed to show that such an integrated solution can redue the need for face-to-face outpatient appointments and improve the care of IBD patients over all.