Introduction: Telehealth technologies are being widely adopted across the globe for management of long-term conditions. There are limited data on its use, effectiveness and patient experience in end-stage renal disease. The aim of this pilot project was to explore patient acceptability of technology and evaluate its effect on clinical interventions and quality of life in patients undergoing peritoneal dialysis.
Methods: Peritoneal dialysis patients were provided with computer tablets (PODs). PODs contained a knowledge database with treatment- and symptom-based questionnaires that generated alerts for the clinical team. Alerts were reviewed daily and followed up by a telephone call or clinic visit. Interventions were at the discretion of clinicians. Data were recorded prospectively and quality of life and Quebec User Evaluation of Satisfaction with assistive Technology questionnaires evaluated at the start and end of the programme.
Results: In all, 22 patients have participated over 15 months. The mean age was 61.6 years and PODs were utilised for an average of 341.9 days with 59.1% choosing to continue beyond the study period. We received a total of 1195 alerts with an average of 2.6 alerts per day. A total of 36 admissions were avoided and patients supported to self-manage on 154 occasions. Quebec User Evaluation of Satisfaction with assistive Technology scores remained high throughout the programme although no improvement in quality of life was seen.
Discussion: Telehealth is useful to monitor patients with renal failure on peritoneal dialysis. It is acceptable across age groups and provides an additional resource for patients to self-manage. Satisfaction scores and retention rates suggest a high level of acceptability.
Keywords: Peritoneal dialysis; quality of life; telehealth.