The IIS La Fe participates in the design of a telemedicine app to improve care for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

The Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Unit of the Hospital Universitario y Politécnico de la Fe organises a workshop with patients to develop an App aimed at patients requiring surgery

Dr. Mónica Millán and Dr. Mariam Aguas from the Surgery and Digestive Medicine services of the Hospital Universitario y Politécnico La Fe are leading the development of a telemonitoring platform for patients with Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis who are going to undergo surgery.

The mobile application, called CirTECCU, was born from the effort to improve the information received by patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) before, during and after undergoing surgery. In the development of this first version of the tool, professionals from the University of Valencia, expert engineers in the development of applications and doctors and nurses from the IBD Unit of the Hospital la Fe and the Coloproctology Unit have also collaborated.

A tool developed by and for patients

With the intention of improving the design of the app from the early stages of development and assessing its usefulness and usability, a focus group meeting was organised with representatives of the Association of Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis Patients of Valencia (ACCU) and with patients who had recently undergone surgery or were awaiting surgery. The focus group technique is commonly used in the field of marketing and advertising to find out, through interviews and group discussion, the opinions of a group of participants about a product or service.

Thus, for almost two hours, the participants were able to test the preliminary version of the app and express their doubts, needs and concerns that could improve the final version of this tool. Those responsible for the platform have highlighted the usefulness of the meeting and hope to be able to implement the changes soon so that the App can be released as soon as possible.

This project is linked to the line of telemedicine in Inflammatory Bowel Disease developed by the IBD research group of the La Fe Health Research Institute (IIS La Fe), which developed the TECCU platform, also initiating it with a co-creation workshop with patients. TECCU is being validated in a national study conducted within the Spanish Crohn's and Colitis Working Group (GETECCU) involving more than 25 hospitals. The study assesses not only the effectiveness of the platform, but also its efficiency in terms of work productivity and quality of life. Provisional results, which confirm those obtained at La Fe Hospital, consider it effective and efficient, and it is well received by patients.

IBD affects one in every hundred people in Spain. It is a disease with exacerbation-remission flares that affects generally young people with a significant impact on their quality of life, personal and professional development, and work activity. After several publications of the group in international journals of impact, competitive fundraising through national and international grants, and health research funds, the TECCU platform now aims to improve knowledge, equity, and accessibility in interventional patients with intestinal resections or colectomies with this CirTECCU version.