Comprehensive kidney disease testing rates for people with type 2 diabetes are significantly lower than they should be, according to a recent study published in the journal Diabetes Care. The study’s authors looked at such testing across 24 health care organizations in the United States. They found that despite clinical guidelines and their high risk for kidney disease, almost half of people with type 2 diabetes aren’t doing the annual urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio (uACR) test that can help detect the disease early and appropriately estimate risk for kidney failure and heart disease. This study joins several other new findings confirming the large gap between the prevalence of kidney disease and the low testing rates among people at risk, both in the United States and globally.
Fortunately, innovation can close such gaps. As we pointed out in our recent comment in Diabetes Care, we’ve seen Healthy.io’s Minuteful Kidney, a home-based smartphone-powered testing solution, make a significant impact on test adherence rates.
One example is the United Kingdom, where adherence to uACR testing is similarly low. In partnership with the National Health Service, Healthy.io has deployed Minuteful Kidney, sending test kits to the homes of people at risk for the disease who had not undergone testing in over a year. To date, 51% responded to a request for at-home screening, leading to 45,500 completed tests.
Harnessing the ubiquitous availability of smartphones, Minuteful Kidney removes time and transportation barriers and provides people with a testing experience that is comfortable and convenient. Usability studies have demonstrated just how simple the test is to complete. The successful completion rate of nearly 100% across diverse patient populations, and an overall ease of use score of 92% are key factors in engaging patients that haven’t had an ACR test for several years.
Finally, the success of Minuteful Kidney has exciting implications for closing additional health gaps and addressing pervasive health inequities. As we noted in our comment,
This implementation highlights that well-designed, clinically valid solutions can improve adherence to guideline-recommended testing of uACR while shifting the burden of screening away from primary care. As the prevalence of such conditions rises, patient self-management presents opportunities to improve clinical efficiencies, increase the accessibility of health care, and ultimately deliver better health outcomes in the time of COVID-19 and beyond.
Click here to read the full comment in Diabetes Care.