This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final.
What is the research about?
Kidney failure occurs when the kidneys no longer work well enough to meet the body’s day-to-day needs. People with kidney failure need a transplant or dialysis. Dialysis is a treatment to remove harmful waste and excess fluid from the body. Although dialysis can save lives, it can be hard on patients. Many people treated with dialysis have symptoms such as muscle cramps, itching, and fatigue. These symptoms can worsen patients’ quality of life.
In regular dialysis care, patients complete surveys about their well-being, including symptoms, at least once a year. But care teams don’t have systems to help them follow up with patients about their reported symptoms. Surveying patients about their symptoms more often and helping care teams follow up on their responses may improve patients’ symptoms and quality of life.
In this study, the research team is comparing two ways to monitor and address patient symptoms during dialysis:
- Usual care. Once a year, patients complete a survey on their quality of life that includes questions about symptoms.
- Usual care plus SMaRRT-HD. In addition to usual care, twice a month, patients use an electronic system called SMaRRT-HD to report their symptoms. The system alerts care teams about patients’ symptoms and provides suggestions for how to manage them. Care teams can use the system to see reports of patients’ symptoms over time and are encouraged to share these reports with patients.
Who can this research help?
Results may help dialysis organizations when considering ways to monitor and address patients’ symptoms during dialysis.
What is the research team doing?
The research team is working with 30 dialysis clinics across the United States to enroll adults with kidney failure who are receiving dialysis. The team is assigning clinics by chance to provide usual care with or without SMaRRT-HD. Enrolled patients are receiving the symptom monitoring approach assigned to their clinic.
Over one year, the research team is looking at changes in outcomes such as patients’ symptoms, quality of life, and healthcare use. The team is also interviewing and surveying patients, clinic staff, and clinicians, such as doctors and nurse practitioners, about their experiences using SMaRRT-HD.
Patients, dialysis clinic staff, dialysis organization leaders, clinicians, and health insurers are helping to plan and conduct this study.
Research methods at a glance
|Randomized controlled trial
|2,400 adults ages 18 and older receiving treatment with hemodialysis at a participating dialysis clinic
Primary: severity of symptoms
Secondary: health-related quality of life, post-dialysis recovery time, fatigue, pain interference, anxiety, depression, patient activation, hospitalizations, missed dialysis sessions, shortened dialysis sessions
|1-year follow-up for primary outcome
*Increase Diversity and Advance Health Equity Funding Supplement