Rx Nutrition Resource Center
Rx Nutrition Resource Center
Source/Disclosures
Disclosures: Mejia reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see full study for all other authors' relevant financial disclosures.
July 24, 2020
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Study finds interest in online dietary support among adults with kidney failure

Source/Disclosures
Disclosures: Mejia reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see full study for all other authors' relevant financial disclosures.
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Adults who receive maintenance hemodialysis 2 or more times per week expressed interest in an online patient community that includes access to a registered dietitian, according to survey results.

“Technology and social media have promise for helping patients with [end-stage renal disease] ESRD adhere to their prescribed diets,” Claudia Mejia, MS, CLC, of the department of allied health sciences at the University of Connecticut, and colleagues wrote. “Two-thirds of U.S. adults aged 65 years or older are online, 42% own a smartphone, and 34% use social media. Although there are many mobile apps for chronic kidney disease self-management, little is known about whether patients with ESRD are interested in using such resources.”

phone diet app
Source: Adobe Stock

To investigate, the researchers recruited 100 patients, either through online platforms or who were receiving dialysis treatments at a clinic in Connecticut (mean age, 53.5 years; 48% were women; 69% were white).

In the month leading up to taking the survey, 83% of patients reported going online each day and 70% reported seeking out information online regarding kidney failure; 80% reported having a Facebook account.

All patients were asked whether they would be interested in “participating in an online community specifically designed to help [them] manage [their] kidney diet.” The online community would provide a platform for patients to discuss their kidney disease with each other, while also allowing for discussions with a registered dietician.

The researchers found that, of the total surveyed population, 46% were very/extremely interested in participating in such a community. In addition, of those who owned a tablet and/or smartphone, 39% expressed interest in using an app to communicate with a dietician.

“The majority of patients with ESRD, both those receiving help with their diet from a [registered dietician] RD and those not, reported looking online for ESRD-related information, particularly practical information such as recipes and the phosphorus and potassium content of foods, and a substantial proportion are interested in digital dietary support,” Mejia and colleagues wrote about the findings, suggesting that online interventions could provide a convenient way to connect with patients and supplement what is discussed in the clinic.

“Exploring innovative ways for RDs to communicate evidence-based information and provide support has potential for great impact,” they wrote.