Exploring the practicalities of monitoring kidney function at home
Self-testing kidney function in the home gives accurate results, empowers patients and may save them and healthcare services time and money.
Kidney function must be frequently monitored in patients who have received a kidney transplant. Currently this occurs in a specialist kidney clinic, but the reliance on expensive specialist services might be unnecessary as patients are typically well. In a new collaboration with Abbott, South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the Academic Health Science Network North East and North Cumbria, we explored the practicalities of patients testing their kidney function at home.
The project piloted a novel application of the Abbott i-STAT test to determine whether patients could safely monitor their kidney function from a finger-prick blood test.
We conducted interviews to gather the views of patients and the opinions of clinicians.
We compared the home testing results, and patients’ experience of performing the tests, with those from patients attending regular kidney monitoring clinics.
Participants were able to use the Abbott i-STAT device to test their kidney function at home as efficiently as health professionals in the clinic.
There was a sufficiently high level of agreement between the home and laboratory test results.
Home monitoring improves the patient experience and reduces the burden on the NHS, saving limited resources.
- A patient representative who helped to conceptualise the study reported to the North East Kidney Patients Association.
- The results have received mainstream media attention and have been summarised in a NIHRtv video.
- The project team were finalists at the 2019 Bright Ideas in Health Awards.
- These findings have informed the design of a national platform study looking at alternative devices for at-home use.