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eHealth interventions for people with chronic kidney disease (Cochrane review) [with consumer summary]
Stevenson JK, Campbell ZC, Webster AC, Chow CK, Tong A, Craig JC, Campbell KL, Lee VWS
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2019;Issue 8
systematic review

BACKGROUND: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is associated with high morbidity and death, which increases as CKD progresses to end-stage kidney disease (ESKD). There has been increasing interest in developing innovative, effective and cost-efficient methods to engage with patient populations and improve health behaviours and outcomes. Worldwide there has been a tremendous increase in the use of technologies, with increasing interest in using eHealth interventions to improve patient access to relevant health information, enhance the quality of healthcare and encourage the adoption of healthy behaviours. OBJECTIVES: This review aims to evaluate the benefits and harms of using eHealth interventions to change health behaviours in people with CKD. SEARCH METHODS: We searched the Cochrane Kidney and Transplant Register of Studies up to 14 January 2019 through contact with the Information Specialist using search terms relevant to this review. Studies in the Register are identified through searches of CENTRAL, Medline, and Embase, conference proceedings, the International Clinical Trials Register (ICTRP) Search Portal and SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-RCTs using an eHealth intervention to promote behaviour change in people with CKD were included. There were no restrictions on outcomes, language or publication type. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two authors independently assessed trial eligibility, extracted data and assessed the risk of bias. The certainty of the evidence was assessed using GRADE. MAIN RESULTS: We included 43 studies with 6617 participants that evaluated the impact of an eHealth intervention in people with CKD. Included studies were heterogeneous in terms of eHealth modalities employed, type of intervention, CKD population studied and outcomes assessed. The majority of studies (39 studies) were conducted in an adult population, with 16 studies (37%) conducted in those on dialysis, 11 studies (26%) in the pre-dialysis population, 15 studies (35%) in transplant recipients and 1 studies (2%) in transplant candidates We identified six different eHealth modalities including: Telehealth; mobile or tablet application; text or email messages; electronic monitors; internet/websites; and video or DVD. Three studies used a combination of eHealth interventions. Interventions were categorised into six types: educational; reminder systems; self-monitoring; behavioural counselling; clinical decision-aid; and mixed intervention types. We identified 98 outcomes, which were categorised into nine domains: blood pressure (9 studies); biochemical parameters (6 studies); clinical end-points (16 studies); dietary intake (3 studies); quality of life (9 studies); medication adherence (10 studies); behaviour (7 studies); physical activity (1 study); and cost-effectiveness (7 studies). Only three outcomes could be meta-analysed as there was substantial heterogeneity with respect to study population and eHealth modalities utilised. There was found to be a reduction in interdialytic weight gain of 0.13 kg (4 studies, 335 participants, MD -0.13, 95% CI -0.28 to 0.01; I2 =0%) and a reduction in dietary sodium intake of 197 mg/day (2 studies, 181 participants, MD -197, 95% CI -540.7 to 146.8; I2 = 0%). Both dietary sodium and fluid management outcomes were graded as being of low evidence due to high or unclear risk of bias and indirectness (interdialytic weight gain) and high or unclear risk of bias and imprecision (dietary sodium intake). Three studies reported death (2,799 participants, 146 events), with 45 deaths/1,000 cases compared to standard care of 61 deaths/1,000 cases (RR 0.74, CI 0.53 to 1.03; p = 0.08). We are uncertain whether using eHealth interventions, in addition to usual care, impact on the number of deaths as the certainty of this evidence was graded as low due to high or unclear risk of bias, indirectness and imprecision. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: eHealth interventions may improve the management of dietary sodium intake and fluid management. However, overall these data suggest that current evidence for the use of eHealth interventions in the CKD population is of low quality, with uncertain effects due to methodological limitations and heterogeneity of eHealth modalities and intervention types. Our review has highlighted the need for robust, high quality research that reports a core (minimum) data set to enable meaningful evaluation of the literature.

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