Feasibility and Acceptability of mHealth Interventions for Managing Hyperphosphatemia in Patients Undergoing Hemodialysis

David E. St-Jules, Kathleen Woolf, David S. Goldfarb, Mary Lou Pompeii, Huilin Li, Chan Wang, Aditya Mattoo, Zachary A. Marcum, Mary Ann Sevick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The objective of the study was to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of mobile health (mHealth) phosphorus management programs in hemodialysis (HD) patients. Methods: Patients receiving thrice-weekly HD who had 3-month average serum phosphorus of >5.5 mg/dL were randomized to one of the three self-directed phosphorus management programs delivered using tablet PCs: (1) educational videos and handouts (Education), (2) education intervention plus mobile self-monitoring with email feedback (Monitoring), or (3) education and monitoring interventions plus social cognitive theory–based behavioral videos (Combined). Feasibility and acceptability were assessed based on enrollment and retention and training needs (feasibility) and adherence to self-monitoring and reported satisfaction (acceptability). Results: Of 312 patients, 56 expressed interest, and 40 were enrolled. The majority of participants (80%) completed the 6-month study; none withdrew for intervention-related reasons. The Monitoring and Combined groups received 44 ± 15 minutes of technology training, which was considered adequate by most (75%). Self-monitoring rates were initially high, with 78% and 71% of the participants recording at least one meal and phosphate binder in week 1, respectively, but decreased over time to 15% and 9% in the final week. Most participants reported that self-monitoring helped them stay motivated (64%), track nutrients (80%), and understand how to change diet (76%), and nearly two-thirds of participants (64%) stated that they would like to continue using the tablet PC to manage their health. However, few participants (16%) indicated that self-monitoring was worth the effort. The Monitoring and Combined groups did not differ from the Education group in study outcomes. Conclusion: Although the mHealth programs were generally well received, self-monitoring rates decreased substantially over time and were unaffected by social cognitive theory-based videos. Self-directed mHealth programs may be a useful adjunct to standard care but should be compared to more resource intensive programs (e.g., involving more “live” contact with a dietitian) to determine overall cost-effectiveness and role in HD care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-410
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Renal Nutrition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Nephrology


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