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New app helps bowel disease patients monitor their own treatment

The Gastroenterology team, Jacqueline Roscoe, IBD nurse specialist (centre) and Dr Pushpakaran Munuswamy, Gastroenterology Department Lead (far right). Image taken pre-Covid.

Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) can now self-test and monitor their condition from the comfort of their home, thanks to a new app in use by Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust.

The app transforms their smartphones into a test reader, so they check their own samples.

More than 200 patients from Basildon, Southend and Broomfield hospitals are already seeing the benefits of the home testing kit, giving them not just quick results but also reassurance.

Stephen Bonnington, an IBD patient from Stanford-le-Hope, was part of the pilot scheme at Basildon Hospital and was keen to point out what a positive difference the app had made to his life.

He said: “I’ve had Crohn’s Disease for 40 years so it’s great that there is finally a self-testing kit and app that can help me manage my IBD myself. The results are instant so I don’t have to worry about travelling into hospital especially during this Covid-19 pandemic."

As well as introducing new technology that is helping patients manage their own care, the self-testing kit is also enabling patients to have a greater understanding of their disease. Patients are getting their results much quicker than they would have previously.

Dr Pushpakaran Munuswamy, Gastroenterology Department Lead, said: “I’m seeing a huge difference already, because we can escalate treatment within a day or two of requesting the test. Previously, there was a wait of around four to six weeks or even longer depending on when the sample was taken and the capacity in the labs.”

Jacqueline Roscoe, IBD nurse specialist, said: “The feedback from the patients has been excellent. They found the kits very easy to use and they really like the fact that they get to see the results quickly. 

“These kits give the patients a better understanding of how their disease is doing, so they can see if their inflammatory markers are high or under control, and then take appropriate action. This provides real peace of mind which is hugely important.”