The "Mikidney" smartphone app pilot study: Empowering patients with Chronic Kidney Disease

J Ren Care. 2019 Sep;45(3):133-140. doi: 10.1111/jorc.12281. Epub 2019 Jul 29.


Background: Successful management of chronic kidney disease (CKD) depends on patients' self-management efforts. Mobile health applications can empower patients with CKD to manage their own condition. We developed, with patient involvement, the MiKidney smartphone application.

Aim: Evaluate the MiKidney app as an aid to empowering patients with CKD to become more engaged in the management of their condition.

Design: Pilot single group pre- and post-test intervention study.

Setting: Renal clinic of an urban University Hospital in Ireland.

Patients: Aged over 18 years with CKD and able to use a smartphone. Sample size based on expression of interest and availability of free smartphones (n = 23); three patients withdrew prior to T3 data collection (n = 20).

Measurements: Data were collected at T1 (baseline), T2 (week 6) and when exiting the study (T3, 12 weeks) on physical activity, body measurements and blood parameters. Information on app usage and patient satisfaction collected at T2 and T3.

Results: There was significant improvement in the six-minute walking test (p = 0.02), total cholesterol (p = 0.023) and LDL cholesterol (p = 0.005) serum levels and a significant decrease in waist circumstance (p = 0.00) and body fat (p = 0.01) measurements. Eighteen participants found the MiKidney app easy to navigate.

Conclusion: The MiKidney study highlights the viability and usability of the MiKidney app. It has the potential to empower and motivate patients to understand and self-manage their condition by providing them with the necessary information on renal diet and symptom management. Additionally, tools such as exercise tracker and reminder alerts are available on a readily accessible user-friendly platform.

Keywords: Chronic kidney disease; Empowerment; Self-management/self-care; Smartphone app; mHealth.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Mobile Applications / standards*
  • Patient Participation*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / psychology
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / therapy*
  • Software Design