Not enough people are familiar with the crowded field of personal gut health apps.
Those who practice the specific carbohydrate diet may be familiar with SCD Buddy. It is a free phone app that only covers the basic SCD allowed / not-allowed list, but can be very helpful for those just trying to master the principals of SCD. There are also many apps for users of the Paleo diet and even for low FODMAP dieters.
In 2016, the publication JMIR mHealth uHealth published a report Mobile Phone Apps for Inflammatory Bowel Disease Self-Management: A Systematic Assessment of Content and Tools. This review counted 26 phone apps relevant to IBD. Some serve as disease diaries, others focus on diet, colonoscopy prep. and more.
Examples include the app myIBD , which was developed by the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, and GI Buddy, which was developed by the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America.
Additional popular apps include:
For patient with active disease, apps that track key symptoms each day can be helpful. Such apps can capture symptom patterns and alert patients, family members, or medical support staff to increasing disease activity in real time. This can help physicians figure out the best therapy for the specific situation. There is also benefit to accumulating an objective record of disease activity over time, as it may allow better disease control and has the potential to improve long-term outcomes.
Wearable devices already monitor physiological functions. Data can stream from a bathroom scale, ketone or blood sugar reading devices, or the many wearable health monitors and watches that measure various health parameters. This can be helpful in detecting how daily lifestyle choices are correlated with wellness or with disease activity.
One limitation worth noting is that currently, it is up to the patient to communicate and share the collected data with the doctor. There are no personal apps that integrate directly with the electronic medical record systems at the doctor’s office. The hope is that in the future apps and devices can integrate all the collected personal data, make it available for the medical team, and store it with the official medical records.
Managing health records
Many of us use diet and natural remedies as a first line of defense to manage our health. We try to avoid pharmaceuticals and reserve the use of conventional systems only for acute care, medical emergencies, lab work and advanced diagnostic testing. We tend to combine the care of traditional doctors and natural-care practitioners to address challenging ailments. Navigating between care modalities in managing a complex medical condition, creates a challenging situation.
As we accumulate a long clinical history, our health records are stored in several different computer systems at the different facilities we visit, and these systems are not interconnected. As time goes on, physicians shift, we visit new clinics, and the complexity increases. There is no easy way to preserve and access our own complete medical records, and to make that complete data accessible to each care provider for better diagnostics and safer treatment.
Patients need to take charge and manage their own medical history. It is best to preserve both paper and electronic health records. One or more organized files in your computer, and one or more organized binders for paper records. Each can be organized chronologically, or by topic. A trusted family member or friend should know how to access the records in case of need. With modern technology, keeping a backup in a secure location in the cloud is also recommended.
It is important to note that everyone in the USA has a federally guaranteed right to see and receive a copy of their medical records from their health care providers, including doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, and nursing homes, as well as from their health plan. You have a right to ask that the plan or provider give you this information electronically if the health care provider is able to do so.
To learn more about using eHealth tools help me manage your personal medical and health records read this guide to maintaining your medical records.