eHealth to Improve Psychological Functioning and Self-Management of People With Chronic Kidney Disease

A Randomized Controlled Trial

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Objective Psychological distress is common among patients with chronic kidney disease and can interfere with disease self-management. We assessed the effectiveness of the personalized E-GOAL electronic health care pathway with screening and cognitive-behavioral therapy including self-management support, aimed to treat psychological distress and facilitate self-management among people with chronic kidney disease not on dialysis (N = 121). Methods Primary outcome of the open two-arm parallel randomized controlled trial in four Dutch hospitals was psychological distress at posttest directly after the intervention and at 3-month follow-up. Secondary outcomes were physical and mental health-related quality of life, self-efficacy, chronic disease self-management, and personalized outcomes, that is, perceived progress compared with the previous time point on functioning (e.g., mood or social functioning) and self-management (e.g., dietary or medication adherence) outcomes that were prioritized by each individual. Results Linear mixed-effects analyses showed no significant time-by-group interaction effects for psychological distress, health-related quality of life, self-efficacy, and chronic condition self-management, whereas analyses of covariance showed significantly more perceived progress in the intervention group at posttest on personally prioritized areas of functioning (b = 0.46, 95% confidence interval = 0.07-0.85) and self-management (b = 0.55, 95% confidence interval = 0.16-0.95), with Cohen d values of 0.46 and 0.54 (medium effects), respectively. Effects on personalized outcomes were maintained at follow-up. Conclusions Compared with regular care only, the electronic health intervention did not reduce psychological distress, whereas personalized outcomes did improve significantly after intervention. Future studies could consider personalized outcomes that reflect individually relevant areas and treatment goals, matching person-tailored treatments.