Introduction MyIBD Care is a mobile phone application delivering digital therapeutics and remote monitoring for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The app provides a library of self-management content, direct messaging with clinical teams, and a range of clinically validated disease-measures.
During the first wave of the COVID pandemic many IBD patients were forced to shield due active disease or medication. In response to this we developed situationally relevant behavioral science-based courses to alleviate the increased risk of patients developing anxiety or depression due to isolation. Our two courses focussed on maintaining healthy relationships and exercise. The courses were created using the same behavior-change framework as existing courses in the app.
Methods Fifteen MyIBD users participated in a study designed to evaluate the effectiveness of the ‘Life in Lockdown’ courses. We assessed changes in mental health (GAD-7) and disease control (IBD-Control) using patient-reported outcome measures delivered through the app.
Results Patients scored significantly higher on the IBD-control questionnaire following completion of either the 4 or 5-day courses, indicating that they feel more control over their disease following the intervention (median score 5 vs 8.5, p<0.002). We observed non-significant improvement in self-reported anxiety and depression levels, a 17% improvement in self-reported wellbeing, along with an increased level of physical activity, and feelings of social connection.
Conclusions These measurable improvements following a short course highlight the need for supported self-care for people with IBD during uncertain times. Future work will investigate the effectiveness of non-lockdown-related courses on self-management of IBD in app users.
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