SUPPORT PD, a companion for end-stage kidney disease, wins award

The George Institute for Global Health India’s unique mobile phone-based application for remote monitoring and management of those undergoing home based peritoneal dialysis – which assists in self-monitoring of their health from the comfort of their own homes – has won a Commonwealth Digital Health Award 2016 for m-health in low and middle income countries.

The award was announced at the 24th Triennial Conference of the Commonwealth Medical Association 2016, held in Colombo from October 14 to 16.   

SUPPORT PD, as the m-health application is called, works as a companion for people with end-stage kidney failure on self-dialysis. The app helps people to be in control of their health, know what is happening and in real-time and receive real time assistance through an automated evidence-based clinical decision support system developed by experts. The system is able to pre-empt development of complications by detecting them early and be in constant communication with care providers.

“Nearly two lakh Indians require renal replacement therapy each year for end-stage kidney failure,” says Dr Vivekanand Jha, Executive Director of the George Institute for Global Health India. “The popular and often recommended treatment for these patients is haemodialysis, though home-based peritoneal dialysis would be a more convenient option with minimum disruption to one’s daily activities,” he adds.

The mobile application has been field tested on patients undergoing peritoneal dialysis over a period of six months. The SUPPORT PD app provides a virtual simulation of the actual care provision scenario.  Qualitative methods were used to evaluate the perception and acceptability of the application by patients and their clinical care providers - primary care physicians and nephrologists.

“The common perception in India is that it is better to have dialysis under the supervision of a care provider rather than go for self-managed peritoneal dialysis. This affordable and patient-centred app will hopefully reverse that,” says Dr Oommen John, Senior Research Fellow, George Institute for Global Health.

“In the next phase, we aim to deploy the concept of ‘Internet of Things’ to connect the app to wearable and environmental sensors for closer automated monitoring of the treatment. This will allow evaluation of parameters and indicators most relevant for self-monitoring and also provide the caregivers a real-time analytics for home-based management,” informs Dr John.