Innovative web portal helps people with Crohn’s and Colitis overcome worry

11 April 2019

Following previous funding from Crohn’s & Colitis UK, Professor John McLaughlin and his colleagues Sr Cath Stansfield, Dr Andrew Robinson and Prof Simon Lal at Salford have designed a patient accessible portal, called ‘My IBD Portal’.

‘My IBD Portal’ is a web-based care package consisting of a personal IBD record, which allows people to log in and access their clinic letters, blood results, medications, and current management plans, anywhere in the world.

It also includes interactive tools designed to help patients manage their Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, such as disease monitoring charts, a food diary, personal medication records and interactive care planning.

In addition, people can access Crohn’s & Colitis UK information leaflets directly through the portal.

This web-based package aims to empower patients and promote a team approach to disease management, enabling people to be better equipped to take a more active role in managing their Crohn’s and Colitis.

My IBD Portal is currently available at Salford. The next aim for Professor McLaughlin is to see this rolled out in other NHS Trusts across the UK.

At Salford, 900 patients and rising are now using the portal, with 98% of those rating the process as good/excellent.

In qualitative studies the key theme that came out of focus groups was that My IBD Portal helps patients feel less worried and more in control of their conditions.

It can reduce anxiety. Especially if you’re waiting on results as you can just click on it and look.

IBD Portal User

Providing comfort and reducing worry is important in a long-term condition such as IBD.

Providing an extra tool for support can help reduce the anxiety of waiting for a test result and can improve communication between people and their doctors through the direct messaging facility.

It was found that the portal had a number of ways of empowering users and this ranged from providing them with greater skills and knowledge to manage their condition, as well as improving their confidence when they have appointments with healthcare professionals.

It gives you more power... the portal allows you to track these and be more proactive in your management.

IBD Portal User

The IBD Portal hasn’t just improved the patient experience, it has also led to benefits for the hospital too. Those using the package had an average of clinic 2.9 appointments each in 2014-15, but this reduced to 0.6 attendances in 2016-17. 

Impressively, this released over 500 clinic appointments.

Professor McLaughlin is currently collecting some more data looking at the impact of ‘My IBD Portal’ and hopes to progress its roll-out in more hospitals across the UK with the support of Crohn’s & Colitis UK.