Questions, suggestions or comments about MyGiHealth? We'd love to hear from you!
Frequently Asked Questions
At any given time, over half of the population suffers from one or more GI symptoms, such as abdominal pain, nausea, bloating, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, swallowing trouble, or bowel incontinence. The MyGiHealth team is a University-based group of researchers passionate about improving the health of people suffering from GI conditions. Based out of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, UCLA and the University of Michigan, we conduct and publish research about technological innovations that expand care outside of traditional healthcare settings. We believe that mobile health technologies can enable everybody to take better control of their symptoms, empower themselves with knowledge, and make informed decisions about their health. We also believe mobile health technologies can connect patients with their healthcare professionals in ways never before possible. This is the MyGiHealth vision. For more information about our research group, please visit our website at www.MyGiHealth.io For a video about the history and vision of MyGiHealth, please visit this site www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3xda83bvBY.
About My Score
What do my scores mean?
You answered questions about GI symptoms you had during the past seven days. These scores show how your symptoms compare to other people who experience the same symptoms.
Your score for each symptom is shown on a scale from 0 to 100. A score of 0 in the green section means you don't have that symptom. A score between 1 and 100 in the red section means that you do have that symptom.
A score of 1 would mean that you have the lowest amount of symptoms, and a score of 100 means the highest amount of symptoms. A score of 50 means you're right in the middle compared to other people with that symptom – in other words, out of 100 people, half (50) are more symptomatic, and half (50) are less symptomatic. If you scored 75 points, that would mean you are towards the higher end of symptoms – that is, out of 100 people, 25 are more symptomatic and 75 are less symptomatic.
The higher your score, the more symptomatic you are compared to other people.
The scores cannot tell you if you have a specific condition or whether the symptoms are serious. You should see a doctor if you want to make a diagnosis. But these scores can tell you what symptoms you have and how they compare to other people. This is the first step to learn more about your GI health.
How were these scores developed?
The developers of MyGiHealth created these scores with the National Institutes of Health, or NIH. It took five years of research and information from thousands of people to develop the scores.
People with common GI symptoms and patients with different GI conditions answered the same questions as you. This allows you to see how your symptoms compare to theirs.
These scores are different from usual questionnaires because they use a “percentile” ranking to show how you compare to other people. That means your score shows how you rank compared to others on a 0 to 100-point scale, where 100 is worst.
These scores are part of an NIH program called PROMIS®, which stands for Patient Reported Outcome Measurement Information System. The NIH created PROMIS as a way to create new questionnaires that measure all aspects of health. The GI scores come from the NIH PROMIS® program.
What might be causing my GI symptoms?
Most everyone has GI symptoms at some point. In fact, research from the MyGiHealth team shows that many people have GI symptoms every day, including some people who don't see a doctor for their symptoms. So, GI symptoms are very common. Also, just because you have GI symptoms doesn't mean that you have a problem or a disease.
But sometimes GI symptoms could mean there is something wrong inside your body. For example, GI symptoms can occur because of a reaction to food. Or, they might occur because of inflammation in your GI system, a blockage, or a nerve problem. In other people there might be too much acid in the stomach, too much gas from bacteria, an infection, or intestines moving too fast or too slow. Even stress can cause GI symptoms. In short, there are many different ways your body can cause your GI system to act up.
There is no app that can figure out exactly what's happening inside your body. The best way to figure things out is to speak with a doctor or other trained healthcare provider. Making accurate diagnoses still requires that people look each other in the eye, talk things through, and think about what's happening. In fact, beware of any app or computer program that claims to make medical diagnoses.
With that being said, MyGiHealth has read your symptom scores and created your “education prescription” to help you get started. If you click on My GI Education, you will also see a library of information that's tailored for you. The education will tell you about different reasons for your GI symptoms, but will not make a diagnosis. That's up to you and, if needed, your doctor.
Do I need to see a doctor?
Just because you have GI symptoms does not mean you must see a doctor. GI symptoms are very common and occur in perfectly healthy people.
But there are certain times you should definitely see a doctor. “Alarm symptoms” such as blood in your bowel movements, passing black bowel movements, vomiting blood, losing weight without trying, having a poor appetite, or having fever along with GI symptoms, would be reasons to see a doctor.
Whether you have an alarm symptom or not, you should consult with your doctor if you have any questions about your GI symptoms. The contents of MyGiHealth are for informational purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking care because of something you have seen on MyGiHealth. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. There is still no computer or app that can substitute for a doctor. MyGiHealth is no exception.
If you decide to see a healthcare provider, you can prepare for your visit by selecting the MyGiHistory tab from the bottom of any screen to create an even more detailed report of your GI symptoms.
How do I find a doctor if I need one?
If you need to find a doctor, consider contacting your health plan or using online doctor lookup resources to find providers in your area. MyGiHealth is currently building a network of world-class GI doctors to help answer your questions. We will send an announcement when this service becomes available.
In the meantime, if you plan to see a doctor, then you can prepare for the visit by clicking MyGiHistory from the bottom of any screen to create a detailed report of your GI symptoms.
If I plan to see a doctor, how can I prepare for the visit?
If you plan to see a doctor, then MyGiHealth can help you prepare for your visit. By using the MyGiHistory function on this app, you can convert your information into a report written in “doctor speak.” This will allow your doctor to quickly focus in on your unique story.
The system is smart, and trained to think like the world's best GI doctors. Research shows that MyGiHistory can collect meaningful information about your symptoms and help your doctor better understand your story. With MyGiHistory, you can spend more quality time talking with your doctor, and less time answering a bunch of questions.
To get started, select the MyGiHistory tab from the bottom of any screen to create a detailed report of your GI symptoms.
How can I track my symptoms?
Now that you've measured your symptoms, you may want to track them over time. By keeping a record of your symptoms, you can truly determine if you're feeling better or worse.
My Symptom Tracker is a way to monitor your symptoms once a week. Research shows that measuring symptoms on a weekly basis can help track your progress. Also, weekly monitoring is much easier, and usually just as accurate, as tracking symptoms every day of the week.
Once 7 days pass after your last check-in, you can return to the Questionnaire button to enter your symptoms again. Then you will see whether your symptoms have changed, and will receive a report about your progress.
When you first logged into MyGiHealth we asked if you wanted to receive push notifications. If you agreed, then MyGiHealth will send you a reminder 7 days after your last symptom report asking you to check-in again.
How could my doctor use this report?
By answering the questions in MyGiHistory, you will provide your doctor with important information about your GI symptoms. The system will prepare a report from your answers that you can share with your doctor. You can save your report, email it, or even print it out and bring it to your appointment. Your doctor can review the answers and discuss them with you during your visit.
Research has shown that using MyGiHistory can prepare a high-quality, doctor-friendly report. This should allow your doctor to better understand your symptoms. Your doctor may choose to review your report before speaking with you in detail, or may use it during the visit to discuss your specific situation. Ultimately, it's up to you and your doctor how you want to use the report.
What are the questions being asked?
The questions in MyGiHistory can give your doctor more detailed information about your GI symptoms. You may see questions that ask about "how often" or "how bad" your GI symptoms have been. You may also see questions that ask about how long you have experienced symptoms, what the symptoms are like, and how they may be affecting your life. Other people with GI symptoms previously tested the questions in MyGiHistory. Researchers found that the questions can help your doctor better understand your symptoms and help to decide about diagnosis and treatment.
How do I answer the questions?
As you go through MyGiHistory, you will see one or more questions on each screen. Most of the questions will ask you to select from a list of options. Sometimes you will only be able to select one answer; other times you will be able to select more than one answer - the directions will specify.
For some questions, you might find that none of the choices apply to you. If so, you can select "Other" and then you can type a short answer into a box. If you don't see an "Other" option, then you must select one of the choices given.
How long will it take me to finish?
The amount of time it takes to complete MyGiHistory depends on how many symptoms you have. Most patients complete the questions in around 10 to 15 minutes. Please try not to rush - your answers will be very helpful for your doctor if you choose to share them. The more accurate your answers the more helpful they will be.
Does everyone answer the same questions as I do?
No. MyGiHistory only asks questions that are relevant to you. Someone who has different symptoms than you will answer a different set of questions. The system is smart because it listens to your responses and selects new questions that make sense for your situation.
It seems like some questions are similar. Is that on purpose?
Yes. Research shows that it is helpful to pose questions that are similar but have slightly different words. This is because different people can read questions differently. MyGiHistory will try to get things right, so it will sometimes ask questions that seem similar. It is important to read each question carefully and offer as thoughtful an answer as possible
What if I can't answer a question?
Please try your best to answer all the questions in MyGiHistory. For some questions "Not sure" will be an answer you can choose. Some questions will have "Other" as an answer; this will allow you to write an answer using your own words. If a question does not provide either of these choices, then please select the answer that comes closest to what you think of feel.
Also, if you made a mistake, then you can change an answer to a question in two ways:
If you want to change an answer on the screen you are currently on, you simply need to select another answer. If the question requires only one response, your original selection will be cleared. If the question offers multiple answers, you will need to re-click on the choices that you no longer want, and they will be cleared.
If you want to change an answer on a previous screen, you can go back to the question by clicking on the "Back" button. You can then follow the same instructions as above. You can go all the way back to the beginning of MyGiHistory to change your answers by continually clicking on the "Back" button.
Once you complete all the questions in MyGiHistory see the final report. If anything looks wrong, you can always go back and retake the questionnaire.
You do need to answer all of the questions before a report can be created. Most people can answer all questions in one sitting, but if you need to stop and come back to finish at a later time you can do so.
Are my answers secure and protected?
MyGiHealth is a highly secure system. Because MyGiHealth does not collect your name, mailing address, or social security number, your responses are anonymous. MyGiHealth does ask for your gender and birthdate, because this information is important for your GI history report.
Anonymous information from MyGiHealth is stored in a database that meets all standard criteria for data security.
How do I share my report?
If you would like to share your My History report with your healthcare provider or anyone else, simply select the button on the top of the screen when the report is open. This will allow you to email your report to anyone you want, including yourself.