Phone Apps for Managing IBD

Track treatments, symptoms, diet and more using these apps on your phone

People living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) might feel overwhelmed with managing their disease, which includes tracking symptoms, medications, physician appointments, and lifestyle factors such as diet and physical activity. Additionally, finding support from other patients or healthcare professionals in a secure environment (where, for instance, coworkers or others won’t stumble upon sensitive discussions) is key to learning how to manage these diseases day-to-day.

Turning to smartphone apps in order to get a handle on these factors for a disease as complex and individualized as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or indeterminate colitis is common. However, trying to fit IBD-specific situations into a generic health or fitness tracker may not provide much utility. After all, there are certain symptoms and extra-intestinal manifestations that might only be recognized by those who truly understand IBD.

There are now some apps that are specific to IBD and can help those living with these conditions to track symptoms, learn about disease management, connect with others with their condition, and communicate with their physicians.


Gali Health

 Gali Health

Gali is an app created by Gali Health, a healthcare technology company based in San Francisco. The app is for patients aged 18 years and over who live with a form of IBD. Gali uses artificial intelligence (AI), which gathers knowledge from answers to surveys, health monitoring questions, and interactions within the app, to bring personalized information to the user.

Informational articles within the app are “insights” that are suggested by users and further vetted by the Gali team to ensure credibility. Users can talk to Gali, the AI interface which has a photo and a persona, and ask her questions about their disease. Gali can then assist the user by finding information about the topic and sending that information, in the form of articles, videos, or other content, directly into the users’ news feed.

Gali Health says that many of their team members live with a chronic condition and that people with IBD are consulted in the development of new features for the app. Team members have backgrounds in biotech, genomics, consumer products, clinical research, and patient advocacy.

Funding for Gali comes from institutional private investors in biotech, consumer products, and genomics. The team partners with Stanford Hospital, the University of California San Francisco, and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation and plans to build studies using the aggregated data collected in the app. Gali Health is free and available in the iOS store. 

IBD Healthline

IBD Healthline

 IBD Healthline

IBD Healthline is a mobile app created by Healthline, an online health information platform which has offices in San Francisco and New York. The app focuses on creating connections between patients in the IBD community in order to find support and inspiration.

Users can connect one-on-one with other patients that the interface “matches” them with, based on diagnosis, current treatments, and lifestyle factors. New matches are created every day within the app, and users can take the conversation from there, connecting on an individual level.

The app also features groups that are focused on particular interests, including treatment and side effects, lifestyle, career, relationships, being newly diagnosed, diet, mental health, and inspiration. The app creators stress that the groups are moderated in order to keep them on topic and to make them more useful and relevant to users.

The app also includes content in the form of podcasts and articles from bloggers and non-profit and industry partners, as well as content from the Healthline site. The app is free and is available for both Apple and Android devices. 

My IBD Manager

My IBD Manager

American Gastroenterological Association

The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) has developed two apps: one for patients and one for healthcare professionals. The AGA is a professional organization for those who are involved in the practice and the study of gastroenterology. The two apps are designed to work together to allow patients and their healthcare team to share information more easily.

My IBD Manager, which is for people living with IBD, is billed as a “one-stop-shop” app to monitor disease information, learn more about these diseases, and share information with healthcare providers.

Ask AGA: IBD is the clinical platform for healthcare providers, which pairs with the patient platform. If their clinician is using the clinical platform, patients can connect with them in the app. However, the app can also be used by patients on its own to track disease factors.

My IBD Manager includes a treatment monitor, symptom tracker, food log, and a journal that helps users record more individualized information such as doctor appointments, mood, and physical activity. Information on IBD vetted by experts is also available in the app and includes articles, worksheets, and videos (including some materials in Spanish). The app is available for both iOS and Android devices. 

Managing IBD is complex and many patients look for ways to track information about their disease and to connect with other patients in a secure environment. Having access to disease-specific content that is vetted by IBD experts and a separate, moderated place to chat with other patients can go a long way towards learning how to manage this condition on a truly individual level.

Thanks to the development of several apps that are exclusively focused on IBD, patients have a variety of choices available to them. No matter if the focus is on tracking symptoms, learning more about the disease, or connecting with other patients, one of these apps can help in serving those needs.

2 Sources
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  1. Gali. A friend for your IBD journey.

  2. American Gastroenterological Association. AGA launches new patient app to aid in IBD monitoring and education. January 22, 2018.

By Amber J. Tresca
Amber J. Tresca is a freelance writer and speaker who covers digestive conditions, including IBD. She was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at age 16.