In children and young people with kidney problems, kidney transplantations can be vital in improving their quality of life, survival and development. However, there are some challenges when it comes to post-transplant care and adherence to treatment.

With a Rotary District 9650 ‘Jack Wilson’ Kidney Research PhD Scholarship from Australian Rotary Health, James Tang (from the Children’s Hospital in Westmead, NSW) hopes to improve self-management and long-term transplant outcomes for young kidney transplant patients, through testing the effectiveness of patient centred mobile health technology.

“Mobile health technology (mHealth) is an ideal option for disease management and health promotion due to connectivity, portability and familiarity to children and young people,” James said.

“mHealth has been shown to be effective in doubling odds of medication adherence in chronic disease setting, but currently only has limited data in solid organ transplant setting.”

So far, James has conducted a systematic review of the current literature, finding substantial gaps in knowledge surrounding post-transplant care and using novel techniques to augment patient orientated care.

James hopes to address these gaps by finding out the attitudes, beliefs and perspectives of kidney transplant patients and their families and learning about their preferences for eHealth interventions in post-transplant care.

“Focus groups will be conducted in patients and caregivers to understand the perspectives of eHealth in post-transplant care.”

“Understanding and eliciting patient and caregiver preferences will allow end-user contribution to the development of the mHealth prototype to ensure relevance and applicability.”

In addition to this, James will develop and pilot a text messaging based mHealth intervention for adherence and health promotion with a cohort of children and young people with kidney transplants.

“A pilot study will assess feasibility and useability of a patient centred text-based intervention. This approach will enable improved post-transplantation care by understanding the role of eHealth.”

With current poor long-term transplant outcomes, James believe this is a very fertile area for research and developing new knowledge.

“It is both exciting and challenging when we research an emerging area of developing personalised medicine,” James said.

“I am looking forward to eHealth being an evidence-based, accessible and useful tool for patients.”

We wish James all the best with his research.

 

Media contact: Jessica Cooper – (02) 8837 1900 or jessica@arh.org.au