A mobile experience is invaluable to almost any healthcare professional nowadays, including those who care for patients with kidney disease.
According to the recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data, more than 20 million people, or 10% of adults (twenty years of age and older) in the US, have chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Patients with end-stage renal disease (Stage 5), where kidney failure has happened, have to follow a prescribed treatment plan, which is strict and also extremely involved. This means that ESRD patients frequently meet with their nephrologists and have hemodialysis treatments on average 3 times per week.
Complicated treatment plan also involves multiple medical professionals that need to stay coordinated. This is the reason why easily accessible mobile resource is essential for healthcare professionals to reference best practices.
Since 2003, Kidney Disease Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) organization is developing and implementing evidence-based clinical practice guidelines in kidney disease. KDIGO is the global organization located in Belgium, committed to helping clinicians and patients worldwide make individual treatment choices based on the best clinical practice to improve outcomes.
Furthermore, in collaboration with Visible Health platform, KDIGO launched a free mobile app with the goal to provide healthcare professionals with the best clinical practices in kidney disease treatment on the go.
The KDIGO app was initially released in 2013, allowing clinicians to access 9 clinical practice guidelines in a fully searchable format, as well as related materials, reports, and papers. It also offered features such as notation, highlighting, and bookmarks that allowed easy personalization.
This year, with the help of NYC-based Capitol Foundry, KDIGO released the redesigned and improved KDIGO Mobile app, with a modern user interface and intuitive user experience, to once more bring evidence-based nephrology guidelines and recommendations to healthcare providers worldwide.
However, based on this review, we can't actually agree that KDIGO Mobile app is improved over the previous version. I used both iPhone and Android phone for the test, because there are differences in content and functionality.
But let's start from beginning.
The app opens up to a Home screen including only practical guidelines. Users can't anymore access digital resources, or the online community, like was the case in previous version. There are 9 guidelines covering various nephrology topics, from acute kidney injury, blood pressure or Hepatitis C in CKD, to care of kidney transplant recipients.
iPhone users will get one extra guideline on living kidney donors, so it's basically 10 guidelines available to clinicians who use iOS. I'm not sure why Android users couldn't get the same. Maybe some future update would fix that.
Basically, each guideline has been structured from website format into a mobile format, which means that selecting any guideline will open an e-document. You might have trouble viewing the content if you use the app on smaller screen, so you'd have to zoom in very often, but that works quite well.
Navigation is supposed to be easy; you basically just need to swipe right to left (and vice versa) as you would browse the book. However, there is no option to jump to particular pages or sections, at least not on Android, which makes navigation not so simple.
iPhone includes a small ribbon at the bottom of the document that allow users to jump between couple of neighboring pages, but it's still clumsy and not the most fortunate solution.
I'm not exactly sure why KDIGO decided to exclude this very useful option from the new 'improved' version of the app. Instead of taping on the document and inputting the number of the page, users have to swipe until they reach the desired page.
If you've missed your page and want to get back, be careful not to tap on Back button. Otherwise you won't be returned to previous page, but to home screen.
There is a Search option that looks through all guidelines seeking for particular keyword, but on iPhone it wasn't so responsive to touch, while the Android crashed and froze couple of times when I was trying to use this option.
Another disappointment was the lack of options to add personal notes or bookmark favorite sections. Ability to add notes and bookmarks was also an integral part in previous app version, and I'm not sure why the developers decided to leave them out.
Common to both old and new version is the lack of reference hyperlinks within the guidelines, as well as lack of sharing option.
On a positive note, KDIGO guidelines provide an astonishing volume of information about the kidney diseases, which goes deep into detail and which is well-referenced (even without links).
Even with these UX irks, KDIGO Mobile app is an invaluable resource for any healthcare provider looking for evidence-based clinical practice guidelines in nephrology.
Benefit: Healthcare providers already using KDIGO guidelines, or those looking for easily accessible nephrology resources.