Effects of a Personalized Smartphone App on Bowel Preparation Quality: Randomized Controlled Trial

Q.E.W. van der Zander*, A. Reumkens, B. van de Valk, B. Winkens, A.A.M. Masclee, R.J.J. de Ridder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Web of Science)


Background: Adequate bowel preparation is essential for the visualization of the colonic mucosa during colonoscopy. However, the rate of inadequate bowel preparation is still high, ranging from 18% to 35%; this may lead to a higher risk of missing clinically relevant lesions, procedural difficulties, prolonged procedural time, an increased number of interval colorectal carcinomas, and additional health care costs. Objective: The aims of this study are to compare bowel preparation instructions provided via a personalized smartphone app (Prepit, Ferring B V) with regular written instructions for bowel preparation to improve bowel preparation quality and to evaluate patient satisfaction with the bowel preparation procedure. Methods: Eligible patients scheduled for an outpatient colonoscopy were randomized to a smartphone app group or a control group. Both the groups received identical face-to-face education from a research physician, including instructions about the colonoscopy procedure, diet restrictions, and laxative intake. In addition, the control group received written information, whereas the smartphone app group was instructed to use the smartphone app instead of the written information for the actual steps of the bowel preparation schedule. All patients used bisacodyl and sodium picosulfate with magnesium citrate as laxatives. The quality of bowel preparation was scored using the Boston Bowel Preparation Scale (BBPS) by blinded endoscopists. Patient satisfaction was measured using the Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire-18. Results: A total of 87 patients were included in the smartphone app group and 86 in the control group. The mean total BBPS score was significantly higher in the smartphone app group (mean 8.3, SD 0.9) than in the control group (mean 7.9, SD 1.2; P=.03). The right colon showed a significantly higher bowel preparation score in the smartphone app group (mean 2.7, SD 0.5 vs mean 2.5, SD 0.6; P=.04). No significant differences were observed in segment scores for the mean transverse colon (mean 2.8, SD 0.4 vs mean 2.8, SD 0.4; P=.34) and left colon (mean 2.8, SD 0.4 vs mean 2.6, SD 0.5; P=.07). General patient satisfaction was high for the smartphone app group (mean 4.4, SD 0.7) but showed no significant difference when compared with the control group (mean 4.3, SD 0.8; P=.32). Conclusions: Our personalized smartphone app significantly improved bowel preparation quality compared with regular written instructions for bowel preparation. In particular, in the right colon, the BBPS score improved, which is of clinical relevance because the right colon is considered more difficult to clean and the polyp detection rate in the right colon improves with improvement of bowel cleansing of the right colon. No further improvement in patient satisfaction was observed compared with patients receiving regular written instructions. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03677050; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03677050
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere26703
Number of pages14
JournalJMIR mHealth and uHealth
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021


  • colonoscopy
  • laxatives
  • bowel preparation
  • smartphone application
  • smartphone
  • patient satisfaction
  • randomized controlled trial
  • mobile phone
  • mHealth

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