Calprotectin Testing Goes Mobile
With advances in technology and the ubiquitous use of mobile devices, a huge opportunity has arisen to change the way some healthcare services are provided. This is especially applicable to the management of chronic conditions. With most people owning a mobile device or tablet this becomes a convenient way for patients to communicate with their consultants for support and treatment advice.
In a speech to NHS bosses in 2016, Simon Stevens (NHS England’s CEO) urged doctors, nurses and NHS managers to “grab with both hands” the growing opportunities technology offers both to help promote health and tackle the service’s chronic financial problems by saving on treatment and rehabilitation costs.
Since publication of NICE guidance DG11 in 2013, supporting the use of calprotectin as a cost effective method to differentiate between IBD and IBS, the rates of calprotectin testing in the UK have increased dramatically.
Assays to detect calprotectin have also advanced since then, to assist with changing hospital requirements. These give scalable and flexible solutions that allow hospitals to evolve their calprotectin service in line with increasing demands.
Calprotectin Monitoring The possibility to use calprotectin for applications other than an IBS/IBD screen have also been investigated, with many publications suggesting its usefulness in monitoring IBD positive patients for:
■ Indicating mucosal healing
■ Predicting flares
■ Predicting post-operative relapse
■ Predicting response to biologic therapy:
□ Allows quicker response for optimisation when starting treatment if you monitor the calprotectin
□ Giving patient reassurance when switching to bio-similars to ensure the calprotectin levels don’t start to rise
□ Withdrawal of biologics but ensuring the calprotectin levels remain low
■ Keeping healthy patients out of the clinic
It is in this monitoring environment that the advance of mobile App technology has come to Gastroenterology; and so in 2015 the first CE marked calprotectin self-test was launched by BÜHLMANN in the form of their IBDoc® assay system.
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“The evidence suggests that point-of-care and home-use faecal calprotectin tests have comparable accuracy to laboratory ELISA tests, but with better patient satisfaction.”