A patient safety educational tool for patients with chronic kidney disease: development and usability study

Cassandra Bowman, Joseph Lunyera, Aviel Alkon, L. Ebony Boulware, Jennifer St Clair Russell, Jennie Riley, Jeffrey C. Fink, Clarissa Diamantidis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a health condition that threatens patient safety; however, few interventions provide patient-centered education about kidney-specific safety hazards. Objective: We sought to develop and test the usability of a mobile tablet–based educational tool designed to promote patient awareness of relevant safety topics in CKD. Methods: We used plain language principles to develop content for the educational tool, targeting four patient-actionable safety objectives that are relevant for individuals with CKD. These four objectives included avoidance of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs); hypoglycemia awareness (among individuals with diabetes); temporary cessation of certain medications during acute volume depletion to prevent acute kidney injury (ie, “sick day protocol”); and contrast dye risk awareness. Our teaching strategies optimized human-computer interaction and content retention using audio, animation, and clinical vignettes to reinforce themes. For example, using a vignette of a patient with CKD with pain and pictures of common NSAIDs, participants were asked “Which of the following pain medicines are safe for Mr. Smith to take for his belly pain?” Assessment methods consisted of preknowledge and postknowledge surveys, with provision of correct responses and explanations. Usability testing of the tablet-based tool was performed among 12 patients with any stage of CKD, and program tasks were rated upon completion as no error, noncritical error (self-corrected), or critical error (needing assistance). Results: The 12 participants in this usability study were predominantly 65 years of age or older (n=7, 58%) and female (n=7, 58%); all participants owned a mobile device and used it daily. Among the 725 total tasks that the participants completed, there were 31 noncritical errors (4.3%) and 15 critical errors (2.1%); 1 participant accounted for 30 of the total errors. Of the 12 participants, 10 (83%) easily completed 90% or more of their tasks. Most participants rated the use of the tablet as very easy (n=7, 58%), the activity length as “just right” (rather than too long or too short) (n=10, 83%), and the use of clinical vignettes as helpful (n=10, 83%); all participants stated that they would recommend this activity to others. The median rating of the activity was 8 on a scale of 1 to 10 (where 10 is best). We incorporated all participant recommendations into the final version of the educational tool. Conclusions: A tablet-based patient safety educational tool is acceptable and usable by individuals with CKD. Future studies leveraging iterations of this educational tool will explore its impact on health outcomes in this high-risk population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere16137
JournalJMIR Formative Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2020


  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Mhealth
  • Patient education
  • Patient safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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