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Penn Medicine Study Uses mHealth to Monitor Kidney Disease Patients

Penn Medicine researchers will be using mHealth wearables to monitor the daily lives of people with Chronic Kidney Disease in an effort to improve care management.

Source: ThinkStock

By Eric Wicklund

- Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are adding mHealth wearables to a long-term study that aims to improve care management for people with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).

Armed with a $17.5 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), Penn Medicine’s Harold I. Feldman, MD, MSCE, chair of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics and director of the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and J. Richard Landis, PhD, a professor of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics, will be using connected health devices to chart daily activity, physiology and cardiac rhythm of more than 3,000 patients living with CKD.

The patients are part of the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) Study, launched in 2001 to help the estimated 15 percent of the American population living with the chronic condition. Officials say about 90 percent of that population doesn’t realize that have CKD, which can lead to kidney failure and dialysis or the need for a transplant.

“By bringing together biostatisticians, epidemiologists and informaticians, we are delving deeper into this public health threat in an effort to identify potential interventions that can be tailored to the individual needs of patients suffering with CKD,” Feldman, who serves as national study chair of the nationwide CRIC study, said in a Penn Medicine press release.

The five-year mHealth study aims to identify cardiovascular risks associated with CKD. Feldman and Landis hope to use the information gained from the remote patient monitoring platform to identify markers and create better care management protocols to avoid cardiovascular issues.

A second part of the project targets periods of transient reductions in function, considered an important cause of kidney disease progression. Participants will be asked to test themselves at home for creatinine and to have their urine tested regularly for protein, two indicators of reduced kidney function.

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