Three common tools used to diagnose inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are blood tests, stool tests and endoscopy/colonoscopy. These tests help exclude other causes of the patient’s symptoms and confirm the IBD subtype.
Individuals are then risk-assessed as having mild, moderate or severe ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
IBD can vary greatly from patient to patient in terms of the presentation and course of disease and the response to treatment. This is why individualising treatments based on each person’s specific disease profile is so important.
But, in the absence of a predictive biomarker, there are limited resources currently available to help physicians understand a person’s individual disease and tailor care accordingly.
Treatment may be intensified or switched as needed over the course of the disease. However, for the majority of patients sustained remission is not achievable.
In an ideal future with personalised healthcare, large quantities of data will be integrated from multiple sources, including molecular information, clinical data, stool samples, images from colonoscopy and real world data such as patient-reported outcomes and data derived from digital technology.
With modern technology, machine learning and ‘artificial intelligence’, the data will be assessed in order to receive a detailed view of the disease. We would be able to identify previously-unrecognised patterns of the disease, to better understand which patient will benefit from which treatment.
People with IBD would receive a personalised diagnosis that specifies disease subtype, severity, activity, prognosis and ideal treatment pathway.
While receiving treatment they would use digital tools to assess their health with regard to all relevant symptoms.
These data would directly feed into the health-record system to better predict disease flare-ups, inform therapy switches and help the patient to engage with their physician.
Personalised treatment selection
This data collection and analytics can help physicians tailor treatment to each individual patient and deliver personalised care. This means a patient’s treatment is optimised based on health data and their symptoms and outcomes are actively managed.
The right treatment for the right patient at the right time in order to provide longer relief or remission for people with IBD, and put them back in control of their lives.
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