Your patients are ready to use mobile apps to monitor and improve their health. They may even be asking you about apps. But with more than 165,000 health-related apps on the market, which will actually help you support your patient?
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Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Practical Apps #6
Dr. Andrew Chou
Bloating, cramping, gurgling, farting, diarrhea and constipation: these are some of the many symptoms we hear about from patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It’s overwhelming when patients come in and dump – if you’ll pardon the term – all of their dietary permutations, probiotic choices and descriptions of their stools all at once. Many apps are available that offer to help patients document their IBS symptoms and, by extension, help the physician sort through them. These apps can help with the diagnosis of IBS as well as monitor treatment responses. Not all apps, however, are created equal.
It is difficult to recommend a single app for IBS management. The Monash University Low FODMAP Diet is great for individuals who are keen on following the special low FODMAP diet (see review), but it is expensive and somewhat niche. For most patients, I would have to give the nod to the Bowelle mobile application. Compared with other apps, it’s well designed, easy to use, updated regularly and free. However, it’s not without its faults: it’s iOS-only, is not peer-reviewed and lacks patient education tools. Finally, it, like all the other apps I’ve reviewed, has no clear privacy statement.
Practical Apps is a collaboration between the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) and the Women’s College Hospital Institute for Health System Solutions and Primary Care (WIHV).
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