Features of patient-education websites for patients with chronic kidney disease: an analysis of recommended websites
Background Chronic kidney disease (CKD) requires lifelong self-management. With the rise in access to the Internet, many CKD patients and their caregivers increasingly use the internet for information on CKD self-management. A recent environmental scan by Smekal et al. identified 11 CKD-related websites that covered the greatest number of content areas. This paper aims to evaluate these 11 selected websites in order to identify those that most effectively address content areas relevant to
... s relevant to patients with CKD. Methods Each website was assessed for information to 6 content areas: diet, physical activity, financial information, emotional support, general CKD information, and medication adherence. A three-tiered scoring metric was used in which a 0 was given if a content area was completely unaddressed, a (+) was given for a category that was generally addressed, and a (++) was given for a category that was addressed with actionable guidance. Results While CKD information and diet were very comprehensively covered with scores of 11 (++) and 8 (++), respectively; physical activity, emotional support and medication adherence received the fewest (++) scores (3 for physical activity and five for both emotional support and medication adherence). For each content area, recommendations are made for websites that are particularly useful. Common themes for these highlighted websites include specific instructions, multiple modalities of information, downloadable and printable resources, and contact references for personal inquiries. Conclusion The recommended websites can help CKD patients and caregivers utilize the most applicable information for their specific self-management needs. Website improvements related to physical activity, emotional support, and financial information for persons with CKD are warranted.