Supporting patients to be involved in decisions about their health and care: Development of a best practice health literacy App for Australian adults living with Chronic Kidney Disease
© 2020 Australian Health Promotion Association Issue addressed: Inadequate health literacy is common in those with chronic kidney disease (CKD), especially among culturally and linguistically diverse groups. Patient information for people with CKD, including those with kidney failure requiring dialysis, is often written beyond their literacy level, and many CKD-related apps are not accurate or evidence based. These represent important barriers to health care decision-making and equity in access to health care. Methods: We developed a cross-platform application (the “SUCCESS app”) to support Australian adults with kidney failure requiring dialysis to actively participate in self-management and decision-making. App content was informed by health literacy theory which recognises the importance of reducing the complexity of health information as well as equipping consumers with the skills necessary to access, understand and act on this information. The development team comprised members of diverse backgrounds and expertise, including nursing, allied health, psychology, epidemiology, nephrology and IT, as well as consumer representatives. Results: Content areas included diet, fluids, medicine, physical activity, emotional well-being and supportive care, chosen as they represent important decision points in the CKD trajectory. To support functional health literacy, a four-step process to simplify written content was used including calculating readability statistics, applying the Patient Education Materials Assessment Tool, supplementing written information with video and audio content, and incorporating micro-learning and interactive quizzes. To develop communicative and critical health literacy skills, question prompt lists and evidence-based volitional help sheets were included in each module to support question-asking and behaviour change. We also developed animated skills training related to communication, shared decision-making and critical appraisal of health information. Conclusions: This is the first health literacy informed app developed to promote active patient participation in CKD management and decision-making. Ongoing evaluation of the SUCCESS app through analysis of quantitative and qualitative data will provide valuable insights into the feasibility of implementing the app with dialysis patients, and the impact of the intervention of psychosocial and clinical outcomes. So what?: Digital health solutions have been found to improve self-management for chronic conditions, and could optimise the use of health care services and patient outcomes.