Directed use of the internet for health information by patients with chronic kidney disease: prospective cohort study

J Med Internet Res. 2013 Nov 15;15(11):e251. doi: 10.2196/jmir.2848.


Background: Health information technology has become common in the care of patients with chronic diseases; however, there are few such applications employed in kidney disease.

Objective: The aim of the study was to evaluate the use of a website providing disease-specific safety information by patients with predialysis chronic kidney disease.

Methods: As part of the Safe Kidney Care (SKC) study, an educational website was designed to provide information on safety concerns in chronic kidney disease. Phase I study participants were provided a medical alert accessory with a unique ID number, the Safe Kidney Care website, and an in-person tutorial on the use of the Internet and accessing the SKC website at baseline. Participants were asked to visit the website and enter their unique ID as frequently as they desired over the next 365 days or until their annual follow-up visit, whichever occurred first. Participants' visits and dwell times on specific safety modules were tracked using embedded webpage PHP scripts linked to a MySQL database, enabling the collection of website usage statistics.

Results: Of 108 Phase I participants, 28.7% (31/108) visited the website from 1-6 times during the observation period (median follow-up 365 days). Median access time was 7 minutes per visit (range <1-46) and 13 minutes per person (range <1-123). The three most frequently visited pages were "Renal function calculator", "Pills to avoid", and "Foods to avoid". High school education and frequent Internet use were significantly associated with website entry (P=.02 and P=.03, respectively).

Conclusions: Preliminary results show general interest in a Web-based platform designed to improve patient safety in chronic kidney disease.

Trial registration: NCT01407367; (Archived by WebCite at

Keywords: chronic kidney disease; health information technology; patient safety.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / psychology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Prospective Studies

Associated data