Kidney transplant recipients have positive attitude toward mHealth

Kidney transplant recipients have a positive overall attitude toward mobile phone-based health monitoring, according to an article published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. Based on results from a survey, respondents feel that mHealth offers an opportunity for improved self-efficacy and provider-driven medical management, the article states.

In addition, those patients participating in the survey were comfortable with the idea of being monitored using mobile technology and are confident that their privacy can be protected. In explaining a small subset of kidney transplant recipients who are less interested in mHealth, the author suggests that they may be less technologically adept as reflected by their lower mobile phone ownership rates.

Ninety percent of respondents to the survey own a mobile phone, 35 percent own a smartphone, while only seven percent had any prior knowledge of mobile phone-based remote monitoring. Despite this fact, 79 percent of respondents reported a positive attitude toward the use of a prototype system if it came at no cost to them.

In the survey, African Americans were more likely than Caucasians to own smartphones (43.1 percent versus 20.6 percent) and held a more positive attitude toward free use of the prototype system. Researchers conducted the survey due to a "lack of data assessing the attitudes of renal transplant recipients toward this technology," especially among ethnic minorities.

Between February and April 2012, a total of 99 renal transplant recipients in South Carolina were identified and agreed to participate in the survey. After a 10-minute demonstration of a prototype mobile phone-based monitoring system, a 10-item questionnaire regarding attitude toward remote monitoring and the technology was administered to the participants as well as a 10-item Perceived Stress Scale and a 7-item Morisky Medication Adherence Scale.

"Mobile phone-based remote monitoring of medication adherence and physiological parameters has the potential of improving long-term graft outcomes in the recipients of kidney transplants," states the article. "This technology is promising as it is relatively inexpensive, can include intuitive software and may offer the ability to conduct close patient monitoring in a non-intrusive manner."

This is good news for the early 400,000 people living in the United States who suffer from end-stage renal disease and the approximately 93,000 people in this country waiting for kidney transplants.

Adults enrolled in a consumer-driven health plan are more likely to use a smartphone or tablet for health-related purposes than members enrolled in a traditional health plan, and one-fourth of Americans trust mHealth apps as much as they trust their doctors.

To learn more:                                                        
- read the JMIR article