Smart Data Collection for the Assessment of Treatment Effects in Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Observational Study

Zsa Zsa R. M. Weerts*, Koert G. E. Heinen, Ad A. M. Masclee, Amber B. A. Quanjel, Bjorn Winkens, Lisa Vork, Paula E. L. M. Rinkens, Daisy M. A. E. Jonkers, Daniel Keszthelyi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: End-of-day symptom diaries are recommended by drug regulatory authorities to assess treatment response in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. We developed a smartphone app to measure treatment response.

Objective: Because the employment of an app to measure treatment response in irritable bowel syndrome is relatively new, we aimed to explore patients' adherence to diary use and characteristics associated with adherence.

Methods: A smartphone app was developed to serve as a symptom diary. Patients with irritable bowel syndrome (based on Rome IV criteria) were instructed to fill out end-of-day diary questionnaires during an 8-week treatment. Additional online questionnaires assessed demographics, irritable bowel syndrome symptom severity, and psychosocial comorbidities. Adherence rate to the diary was defined as the percentage of days completed out of total days. Adherence to the additional web-based questionnaires was also assessed.

Results: Overall, 189 patients were included (age: mean 34.0 years, SD 13.3 years; female: 147/189, 77.8%; male: 42/189, 22.2%). The mean adherence rate was 87.9% (SD 9.4%). However, adherence to the diary decreased over time (P99%). Missing data due to technical issues were limited.

Conclusions: The use of a smartphone app as a symptom diary to assess treatment response resulted in high patient adherence. The data-collection framework described led to standardized data collection with excellent completeness and can be used for future randomized controlled trials. Due to the slight decrease in adherence to diary use throughout the study, this method might be less suitable for longer trials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number19696
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2020


  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • digital diary
  • smartphone application
  • mobile phone application
  • mhealth
  • e-health
  • compliance
  • electronic case report file
  • patient reported outcome measures
  • peppermint oil
  • PERSUADE study
  • PAIN
  • 12-WEEK


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