January 10, 2020
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Online patient tool may increase likelihood of kidney transplant

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Published research suggests patients on hemodialysis who used a web-based application may be more likely to receive a kidney transplant compared with non-users. In addition, more logins to the tool was associated with shortened time to transplantation.

“We wanted to look at patient factors and tools outside the traditional medical system that can help dialysis patients achieve autonomy and better outcomes,” Polina Zmijewski, MD, of Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University, said in a related press release. “Our theory was that patients who were able to keep score by using an online patient portal would be more involved in their health care and would better comply with medical treatments, which would lead to better health, making it more likely that they would be the recipient of a kidney transplant.”

To test this theory, researchers included 264 patients who received dialysis at two centers associated with the Rhode Island Hospital. Of these, 38 actively used the Lifespan patient portal, which allows patients to view their personal health care information — including labs, appointments and provider notes — on a computer or smart phone. Active users were categorized by frequency of logins, with those logging in less than once every 2 months in the bottom quartile and those logging in at least 6.9 times per month in the top quartile.

Researchers found that at 3 years after hemodialysis initiation, 9% of both active users and non-users were transplanted. However, at 4 years, 23% of users were transplanted vs. 13% of non-users. At 5 years, the gap increased to 40% of users being transplanted vs. 14% of non-users.

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Patients on hemodialysis who used a web-based application may be more likely to receive a kidney transplant.
Source: Adobe Stock

Furthermore, researchers observed that an increased number of logins was associated with shorter time to deceased donor transplantation.

“The patient portal is a very good bridge from the dependent culture of hemodialysis to the independent culture of kidney transplant,” Zmijewski said in the release.

She added, “Improving patient involvement and empowering patients to participate in their own care is really the key to improving patient outcomes.” – by Melissa J. Webb

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.