Introduction Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic condition characterised by periods of exacerbations and remission, requiring regular medical follow-up. IBD frequently affects patients of working age and the need for life-long follow-up can have significant personal and societal economic implications. Telemedicine systems, could reduce this burden and have been shown to be successful and highly accepted by patients with other chronic diseases.1 We aimed to assess the potential technologies by which telemedicine might be employed in our population of IBD patients and the level of patients' acceptance of telemedicine systems in their management.
Methods Patients attending the specialist IBD outpatient clinic were surveyed over a 6-week period. Demographic data, access to technology and acceptance of telemedical systems for the management of their disease were assessed.
Results 52 IBD patients (48%) responded and completed the survey. 52% had a diagnosis of UC; 48% Crohn's disease. 58% were female. 85% of patients were aged 18–65 years and English was the first language in 86%. 94% of patients had home access to the internet. 56% owned smartphones and 52% used apps regularly. 46% of patients regularly used web video calling. 85% of patients wanted electronic access to their personal health data. 65% and 54% of patients preferred text or email respectively, to be used for reminders of disease monitoring investigations. 65% would choose telephone follow-up, while only 38% would select web based follow-up. 42% of patients indicated they would undertake web supported self-management of their IBD.
Conclusion IBD patients are of working age and have access to web based and smartphone technologies that could be used in the management of their IBD. IBD patients desire e-health access and the use of technology for communication regarding their disease management as well as web-based monitoring and self management of their IBD. Patients with IBD are ready for telemedicine systems to be employed as an adjunct in the management of their disease.
Competing interests None declared.
Reference 1. Mclean S, Protti D, Sheikh A. Tele healthcare for longterm conditions. BMJ 2011;342:d120.
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