In a recent Healio exclusive, Kelly Cushing-Damm, MD, MSCI, discussed emerging strategies for monitoring inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that could benefit both patients and medical practices. The key points from this discussion include:
High Risk of Disease Progression: Patients with IBD are at a high risk of disease progression or complications due to uncontrolled inflammation. It’s crucial to confirm minimal residual inflammation after starting treatment.
Use of Objective Markers: Since patient symptoms don’t always align with the level of inflammation, it’s important to use objective markers alongside symptom assessments to confirm remission. Current guidelines include symptom assessment, noninvasive markers like C-reactive protein or fecal calprotectin, and colonoscopy.
Challenges with Current Strategies: While effective, current strategies are not always practical due to time and cost constraints.
Promising Avenues of Research: The lecture highlighted several emerging avenues for remote monitoring, including telemedicine, wearable technologies, mobile apps, and home-based stool and blood tests. Bedside ultrasound is also being considered for tracking disease activity.
Role of Artificial Intelligence and Precision Medicine: AI and precision medicine are emerging as tools to advance disease monitoring. Predictive algorithms and tailored strategies for individual patients, rather than the disease, are being explored.
Improving Clinical Practice: Disease monitoring is a critical area of clinical practice. The goal is to minimize complications from uncontrolled disease and improve patient quality of life as quickly and safely as possible. While current strategies are effective, there are exciting opportunities for future advancements.
This discussion underscores the importance of optimizing IBD monitoring and addressing the challenges with current practices, highlighting the potential of new technologies and approaches in improving patient care.