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An easy-to-use smartphone app, used in combination with a blood pressure monitor, has showed significant improvement in supporting patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) manage their health – an important intervention, especially with the increased demand for virtual care platforms during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a study that will be published in the upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN), researchers from UHN, Sinai Health and University of Toronto demonstrated the application reduced medication errors and improved overall safety for patients.
"We hypothesized that by promoting a sense of self-control and confidence in managing their condition, this would translate into increased patient safety," says senior author of the study, Dr. Alexander Logan, who is a nephrologist at Sinai Health and at UHN, and Senior Investigator at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute.
The study enrolled 182 participants living with advanced CKD. They were selected to use either eKidneyCare or a control, commercially available app, used for logging medication storage and other health information.
Patients using eKidneyCare had fewer total medication discrepancies compared with the control group (median 0.45 vs. 0.67). They also completed more often their monthly medication reviews through the application – 72 per cent versus 30 per cent in the control group.
"eKidney Care is innovative in being an interactive app that stimulates patients to connect with their healthcare provider, report symptoms and actively manage their condition," explains Dr. Logan. "As it's connected to pharmacies' databases, it also ensures patients continue taking the appropriate medication."
"This study showed this application is a very effective way to engage patients and help them manage their disease, with support of their care teams," says Stephanie Ong, clinical pharmacist at UHN and first author of the study.
This study was supported by Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation – Slamen/Miller Fund in Nephrology, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Sinai Health Department of Medicine Research Fund. Supporters played no role in the design and conduct of the trial or in the collection, management, analysis, or interpretation of the data. The app system received no commercial support.