Smartphone App Helps Coach Patients in Colonoscopy Preparation

Monday, October 14, 2013
8:00 a.m. EDT
Contact: Jacqueline Gaulin or 202-579-1057
as of Sunday October 13, 2013 at ACG Press Room, San Diego Convention Center,

San Diego, CA (October 14, 2013) – A smartphone virtual coach application for colonoscopy preparation is shown to be easy to use and engaging, even among people who have previously undergone colonoscopy. Results of a usability study were presented at the American College of Gastroenterology’s 78th Annual Scientific Meeting in San Diego, CA.

Lead author Sundeep Singh, M.D., Adjunct Clinical Instructor of Gastroenterology at Stanford University, wanted to evaluate the concept of improving patient preparation for colonoscopy. “We found that the mobile application, a virtual coach enabled with natural-language processing technologies, text, graphics and vocal output, was well received by individuals across a spectrum of ages.”

Smartphones are now ubiquitous, with readily available information and easy-to-use platforms. The patient app couples these traits with features like free form speech, visual aids, step-by-step vocal instructions, links to transportation services and communication with clinics to identify patients at risk for poor colonoscopy preparations. The app also reminds patients of instructions to ensure understanding of, and compliance with checklist items.

“These technologies would potentially enable smartphones to effectively provide complex medical instructions to patients,” adds Dr. Singh. “This study provided the necessary data that will enable us to move forward and conduct further research to validate the hypothesized benefits the mobile application will have on bowel preparation, colonoscopy recovery and clinic efficiency.”

About Colonoscopy
A colonoscopy is a procedure that enables a physician, usually a gastroenterologist, to directly image and examine the entire colon. It is the only test that can both find and remove polyps throughout the entire colon before they turn into cancer.  Colonoscopy use has been lifesaving in the United States; it is considered cost effective, is endorsed by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and American Cancer Society, and, when compared to the cost of treating colorectal cancer, is an important and cost-effective procedure. The College has more information on colonoscopy and colonoscopy prep.

View the abstract.

About the American College of Gastroenterology
Founded in 1932, the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) is an organization with an international membership of more than 12,000 individuals from 80 countries. The College’s vision is to be the pre-eminent professional organization that champions the evolving needs of clinicians in the delivery of high quality, evidence-based, and compassionate health care to gastroenterology patients. The mission of the College is to advance world-class care for patients with gastrointestinal disorders through excellence, innovation and advocacy in the areas of scientific investigation, education, prevention and treatment.  View releases on research breaking at the ACG meeting and follow ACG on Twitter and share your live updates #acg2013.