Mobile Health App to Track Self-Care Post-Transplant

ANNA 2021 National Symposium

To prevent graft rejection and death, recipients of kidney transplants must maintain lifelong self-care responsibilities. The emergence of consumer-based mobile health applications (mHealth apps) has presented an opportunity for kidney transplant recipients to manage their post-transplant requirements, set goals, and monitor self-care practices in real time. At present, there are few data available on kidney transplant patients’ experiences with mHealth apps as a self-care tool.

Tara O’Brien, PhD, RN, CNE, conducted a qualitative study to examine perceptions among kidney transplant recipients regarding the use of consumer-based mHealth apps for tracking self-health. Results of the study were reported during a virtual poster session at the 2021 ANNA National Symposium in a poster titled Kidney Transplant Recipients Perceptions of Consumer-Based Mobile Health Applications for Self-Health Tracking.

The study cohort was comprised of a purposive sample of adult kidney transplant recipients recruited from a Midwest transplant program. Researchers used a semi-structured interview guide to conduct face-to-face interviews designed to gather perspectives for using consumer-based mHealth apps for self-health tracking. The interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim, and coded using NVivo 12.0 qualitative software.

The researchers conducted interviews with 20 kidney transplant recipients. Mean age of the majority of the participants was 54 years and annual income was $66,000 or higher. Qualitative analysis of the interviews revealed five themes relating to self-health tracking: medication, nutrition, fluid intake, laboratory values, and physical activity.

The most popular mHealth app used by the study participants tracked physical activity and nutrition (n=13; 65%). All 20 participants indicated a desire for access to an app that had been specifically designed for self-care following kidney transplantation.

In summary, the authors said, “Our study is the first study to explore kidney recipients’ perceptions of using consumer-based mHealth apps as a tool for self-health tracking. Overall, the participants in this study reported a positive experience when using consumer-based mHealth apps for self-care post-transplant. Consumer-based mHealth apps have the potential to be a cost-effective strategy for providing tailored education and real-time self-tracking which might ultimately improve survival rates for kidney recipients.”

Source: O’Brien T. Kidney transplant recipients perceptions of consumer-based mobile health applications for self-health tracking. Abstract of a poster presented at the virtual 2021 American Nephrology Nurses Association National Symposium, May 2-5, 2021.