Background: Faecal Calprotectin is a well-established biomarker to measure the level of inflammation in the gut. Assessment of calprotectin is important to measure disease activity, effectiveness of treatments as well as predicting relapses in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Until now stool samples have been sent for laboratory analysis, leading to long delays between sample collection and test result. New technology (IBDoc) allows reliable testing of faecal calprotectin using a smartphone at home. The IBD centre at Mercy university Hospital (MUH) was one of just three IBDoc pilot sites in Europe in 2015. Since its launch little is known about the patient experience of using IBDoc. The objective of this study was to evaluate the patient satisfaction with IBDoc calprotectin home test system.
Methods: 100 patients with IBD (age 18–45 years) naïve to the IBDoc system were trained to perform the test and asked to carry out a calprotectin stool test independently at home. The users then filled in a questionnaire to determine ease of use, importance of patients being able to view results, reassurance that treatment is working, satisfaction with remote monitoring and its contribution to quality of care.
Results: 98 of 100 users were able to generate a calprotectin test result independently. All 100 respondents agreed that it was very important to them that they could view the result on their phone. 86% of respondents felt that IBDoc made them feel more confident and reassured that their treatment was working. 100% preferred doing the test at home as opposed to bringing the sample to the hospital. Reasons cited for this included: convenience, privacy and not having to travel to the hospital with a sample. 97% of respondents felt that remote monitoring (such as IBDoc) is a positive progression in IBD services. Overall satisfaction with IBDoc showed that 91% were very satisfied while the remaining 9% were satisfied.
Conclusions: This study shows that calprotectin home testing using a smartphone as measuring system was very well received among the tested users (100% satisfaction). Similar to the self testing available in chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, it is now also possible for sufferers of IBD to self test and monitor their condition from home with a simple test. IBDoc offers patient empowerment for IBD patients who can remotely monitor their disease from the convenience of their own home.