Digital health & IBD

Digital health & IBD

December 21, 2021

Issue 24

Clinical Question

Do digital tools improve IBD outcomes?

Editor’s Bottom Line

Advances in digital health technology show potential to reduce use of conventional healthcare resources and improve the health outcomes of patients with IBD, but more research and flexible approaches will be needed.


Nguyen NH, Martinez I, Atreja A, et al. Digital Health Technologies for Remote Monitoring and Management of Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Systematic Review. Am J Gastroenterol. Epub Nov 9, 2021;


To examine the impact of digital health tools on IBD care, researchers performed a systematic review of 14 randomized controlled trials comparing these technologies to standard of care.

The study sizes ranged from 34 to 909 participants and most studies included follow-up periods of less than one year. Digital tools included web-based interventions, mobile applications, and telemedicine platforms.

The authors found that digital management and monitoring tools were not associated with significant differences in disease activity, including risk of relapse. However, digital tools significantly reduced IBD- and non-IBD-related hospitalizations, led to fewer outpatient visits, less health care spending and non-significant trends towards improved medication adherence. The authors noted that several studies suffered from intrinsic selection bias due to inclusion only of participants with technological savvy who had access to the equipment required for the study interventions.


Study Design: Systematic review

Funding: National Institutes of Health and the American College of Gastroenterology

Allocation: Not applicable

Setting: Multicenter

Level of Evidence: 1a-