Digital Tools May Help CKD Patients

Patients with complex, long-lasting conditions such as Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) often take multiple medications which can frequently result in serious medication problems arising from poor communication between doctors and patients.

Prescription errors can cause harm and lead to emergency room visits or even hospitalizations. To address these issues, medication reconciliation is now used by hospitals as a way to confirm the medication list of patients upon admission and discharge from the hospital.

However, a similar process does not exist outside the hospital setting. To help patients become more proactive in taking better care of their health, a large number of commercially available mobile medication management apps are being used by patients.

These digital tools are stand-alone products that are not integrated with the patients’ pharmacy or health record system. They rely on patients to enter the list of their medications and update if necessary. Also, few patients have a function to communicate medication changes or problems with their healthcare providers.

Recently, a new integrated smartphone “eKidneyCare” app system was developed with a medication management feature to help patients maintain an accurate mobile medication list. Patients’ current medication information in the pharmacy database is uploaded onto their app system by a pharmacist.

Changes are tracked regularly through a bi-directional communication system. Updates to the medication list occur seamlessly by the pharmacist and patients and their physicians are notified about any medication errors or serious adverse events.

The University Health Network, Toronto and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research are currently recruiting participants 18 and older with the estimated enrollment of 182 for the study “Mobile Health Technology for Chronic Kidney Disease Patients: Medication Management”. This study is being done to determine whether the eKidneyCare app with its medication management feature will decrease medication errors.

The study will be conducted in renal clinics at the University Health Network who will oversee the clinical management of advanced stage 4 to CKD patients.

The study will be a randomized controlled trial for 12 months to assess the medication related to its effectiveness and the stakeholder’s satisfaction with the eKidneyCare mobile app as compared to commercially available mobile apps like My MedRec. Also, the study will evaluate the direct costs and quality of life associated with incorporating the eKidneyCare.

For more information, email Stephanie W. Ong Stephanie.ong@uhn.ca Principal Investigator or Alexander G. Logan, MD Principal Investigator at logan@lunenfield.ca.

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