Telemedicine and Mobile Health Technology Are Effective in the Management of Digestive Diseases: A Systematic Review
Mobile applications and interactive websites are an increasingly used method of telemedicine, but their use lacks evidence in digestive diseases.
This study aims to explore digestive disease studies that use telemedicine to effectively manage disease activity, help monitor symptoms, improve compliance to the treatment protocol, increase patient satisfaction, and enhance the patient-to-provider communication.
EBSCO, PubMed, and Web of Science databases were searched using Medical Subject Headings and other keywords to identify studies that utilized telemedicine in patients with digestive disease. The PRISMA guidelines were used to identify 20 research articles that had data aligning with 4 common overlapping themes including, patient compliance (n = 13), patient satisfaction (n = 11), disease activity (n = 15), and quality of life (n = 13). The studies focused on digestive diseases including inflammatory bowel disease (n = 7), ulcerative colitis (n = 4), Crohn’s Disease (n = 1), irritable bowel syndrome (n = 6), and colorectal cancer (n = 2).
From the studies included in this systematic review, patient compliance and patient satisfaction ranged between 25.7–100% and 74–100%, respectively. Disease activity, measured by symptom severity scales and physiological biomarkers, showed improvements following telemedicine interventions in several, but not all, studies. Similar to disease activity, general and disease-specific quality of life showed improvements following telemedicine interventions in as little as 12 weeks in some studies.
Telemedicine and mobile health technology may be effective in managing disease activity and improving quality of life in digestive diseases. Future studies should explore both gastrointestinal and gastroesophageal diseases using these types of interventions.
KeywordsTelemedicine Systematic review Gastrointestinal diseases Digestive system diseases
The author has not received payment or services from a third party for any aspect of the submitted work at any time. The authors’ employer has not received payment or services from a third party for any aspect of the submitted work at any time. There are no other relationships or activities that readers could perceive to have influenced, or that give the appearance of potentially influencing, what is written in the submitted work.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The author has no conflicts of interest to report.
- 2.Meyers DJ, Ozonoff A, Baruwal A, et al. Combining healthcare-based and participatory approaches to surveillance: trends in diarrheal and respiratory conditions collected by a mobile phone system by community health workers in rural Nepal. PLOS ONE. 2016;11:1–13. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0152738.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 4.Larsen ME, Rowntree J, Young AM, et al. Chemotherapy side-effect management using mobile phones. Conference proceedings: annual international conference of the IEEE engineering in medicine and biology society. In: IEEE engineering in medicine and biology society. Annual conference. 2008;5152–5155. https://doi.org/10.1109/iembs.2008.4650374.
- 21.Everitt H, Moss-Morris R, Sibelli A, et al. Management of irritable bowel syndrome in primary care: the results of an exploratory randomised controlled trial of mebeverine, methylcellulose, placebo and a self-management website. BMC Gastroenterol. 2013;13:68. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-230X-13-68. (Medline: 23602047).CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- 23.Ljótsson B, Andersson G, Andersson E, et al. Acceptability, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of internet-based exposure treatment for irritable bowel syndrome in a clinical sample: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Gastroenterol. 2011;11:110. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-230X-11-110. (Medline: 21992655).CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- 30.Castro HK, Cross RK, Finkelstein J. Using a home automated telemanagement (HAT) system: Experiences and perceptions of patients with inflammatory bowel disease. In: AMIA Annual Symposium Proceedings. 2006;872.Google Scholar