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      Mobile Health Medication Adherence and Blood Pressure Control in Renal Transplant Recipients: A Proof-of-Concept Randomized Controlled Trial

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          Mobile phone based programs for kidney transplant recipients are promising tools for improving long-term graft outcomes and better managing comorbidities (eg, hypertension, diabetes). These tools provide an easy to use self-management framework allowing optimal medication adherence that is guided by the patients’ physiological data. This technology is also relatively inexpensive, has an intuitive interface, and provides the capability for real-time personalized feedback to help motivate patient self-efficacy. Automated summary reports of patients’ adherence and blood pressure can easily be uploaded to providers’ networks helping reduce clinical inertia by reducing regimen alteration time.


          The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary outcomes of a prototype mobile health (mHealth) medication and blood pressure (BP) self-management system for kidney transplant patients with uncontrolled hypertension.


          A smartphone enabled medication adherence and BP self-management system was developed using a patient and provider centered design. The development framework utilized self-determination theory with iterative stages that were guided and refined based on patient/provider feedback. A 3-month proof-of-concept randomized controlled trial was conducted in 20 hypertensive kidney transplant patients identified as non-adherent to their current medication regimen based on a month long screening using an electronic medication tray. Participants randomized to the mHealth intervention had the reminder functions of their electronic medication tray enabled and received a bluetooth capable BP monitor and a smartphone that received and transmitted encrypted physiological data and delivered reminders to measure BP using text messaging. Controls received standard of care and their adherence continued to be monitored with the medication tray reminders turned off. Providers received weekly summary reports of patient medication adherence and BP readings.


          Participation and retention rates were 41/55 (75%) and 31/34 (91%), respectively. The prototype system appears to be safe, highly acceptable, and useful to patients and providers. Compared to the standard care control group (SC), the mHealth intervention group exhibited significant improvements in medication adherence and significant reductions in clinic-measured systolic blood pressures across the monthly evaluations. Physicians made more anti-hypertensive medication adjustments in the mHealth group versus the standard care group (7 adjustments in 5 patients versus 3 adjustments in 3 patients) during the 3-month trial based on the information provided in the weekly reports.


          These data support the acceptability and feasibility of the prototype mHealth system. Further trials with larger sample sizes and additional biomarkers (eg, whole blood medication levels) are needed to examine efficacy and effectiveness of the system for improving medication adherence and blood pressure control after kidney transplantation over longer time periods.

          Trial Registration

 NCT01859273; (Archived by WebCite at

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          Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being.

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          Human beings can be proactive and engaged or, alternatively, passive and alienated, largely as a function of the social conditions in which they develop and function. Accordingly, research guided by self-determination theory has focused on the social-contextual conditions that facilitate versus forestall the natural processes of self-motivation and healthy psychological development. Specifically, factors have been examined that enhance versus undermine intrinsic motivation, self-regulation, and well-being. The findings have led to the postulate of three innate psychological needs--competence, autonomy, and relatedness--which when satisfied yield enhanced self-motivation and mental health and when thwarted lead to diminished motivation and well-being. Also considered is the significance of these psychological needs and processes within domains such as health care, education, work, sport, religion, and psychotherapy.
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            CONSORT 2010 Statement: updated guidelines for reporting parallel group randomised trials

            The CONSORT statement is used worldwide to improve the reporting of randomised controlled trials. Kenneth Schulz and colleagues describe the latest version, CONSORT 2010, which updates the reporting guideline based on new methodological evidence and accumulating experience. To encourage dissemination of the CONSORT 2010 Statement, this article is freely accessible on and will also be published in the Lancet, Obstetrics and Gynecology, PLoS Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine, Open Medicine, Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, BMC Medicine, and Trials.
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              Comparison of mortality in all patients on dialysis, patients on dialysis awaiting transplantation, and recipients of a first cadaveric transplant.

              The extent to which renal allotransplantation - as compared with long-term dialysis - improves survival among patients with end-stage renal disease is controversial, because those selected for transplantation may have a lower base-line risk of death. In an attempt to distinguish the effects of patient selection from those of transplantation itself, we conducted a longitudinal study of mortality in 228,552 patients who were receiving long-term dialysis for end-stage renal disease. Of these patients, 46,164 were placed on a waiting list for transplantation, 23,275 of whom received a first cadaveric transplant between 1991 and 1997. The relative risk of death and survival were assessed with time-dependent nonproportional-hazards analysis, with adjustment for age, race, sex, cause of end-stage renal disease, geographic region, time from first treatment for end-stage renal disease to placement on the waiting list, and year of initial placement on the list. Among the various subgroups, the standardized mortality ratio for the patients on dialysis who were awaiting transplantation (annual death rate, 6.3 per 100 patient-years) was 38 to 58 percent lower than that for all patients on dialysis (annual death rate, 16.1 per 100 patient-years). The relative risk of death during the first 2 weeks after transplantation was 2.8 times as high as that for patients on dialysis who had equal lengths of follow-up since placement on the waiting list, but at 18 months the risk was much lower (relative risk, 0.32; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.30 to 0.35; P<0.001). The likelihood of survival became equal in the two groups within 5 to 673 days after transplantation in all the subgroups of patients we examined. The long-term mortality rate was 48 to 82 percent lower among transplant recipients (annual death rate, 3.8 per 100 patient-years) than patients on the waiting list, with relatively larger benefits among patients who were 20 to 39 years old, white patients, and younger patients with diabetes. Among patients with end-stage renal disease, healthier patients are placed on the waiting list for transplantation, and long-term survival is better among those on the waiting list who eventually undergo transplantation.

                Author and article information

                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Research Protocols
                JMIR Publications Inc. (Toronto, Canada )
                Jul-Dec 2013
                04 September 2013
                : 2
                : 2
                1Department of Surgery Medical University of South Carolina Charleston, SCUnited States
                2Technology Applications Center for Healthful Lifestyles College of Nursing Medical University of South Carolina Charleston, SCUnited States
                3Department of Nephrology Medical University of South Carolina Charleston, SCUnited States
                4College of Medicine Medical University of South Carolina Charleston, SCUnited States
                Author notes
                Corresponding Author: John W McGillicuddy mcgillij@
                ©John W McGillicuddy, Mathew J Gregoski, Anna K Weiland, Rebecca A Rock, Brenda M Brunner-Jackson, Sachin K Patel, Beje S. Thomas, David J Taber, Kenneth D Chavin, Prabhakar K Baliga, Frank A Treiber. Originally published in JMIR Research Protocols (, 04.09.2013.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Research Protocols, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

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