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Original research
Attitudes towards digital health tools for outpatient cirrhosis management in patients with decompensated cirrhosis

Abstract

Background Technology represents a promising tool to improve healthcare delivery for patients with cirrhosis. We sought to assess utilisation of technology and preferred features of a digital health management tool, in patients with an early readmission for decompensated cirrhosis.

Methods We conducted a cross-sectional study of patients readmitted within 90 days for decompensated cirrhosis. A semistructured interview obtained quantitative and qualitative data through open-ended questions.

Results Of the 50 participants, mean age was 57.6 years and mean (range) model for end stage liver disease was 22.7 (10–46). Thirty-eight (76%) patients own a Smartphone and 62% have regular access to a computer with internet. Thirty-nine (78%) patients would consider using a Smartphone application to manage their cirrhosis. Forty-six (92%) patients report having a principal caregiver, of which 80% own a Smartphone. Patients were interested in a Smartphone application that could communicate with their physician (85%), send medication notifications to the patient (65%) and caregiver (64%), transmit diagnostic results and appointment reminders (82%), educate about liver disease (79%), regularly transmit weight data to the doctor (85% with ascites) and play a game to detect cognitive decline (67% with encephalopathy). Common themes from qualitative data include a desire to learn about liver disease and communicate with providers via digital tools.

Conclusion Among patients with cirrhosis with an early readmission for decompensation, most have Smartphones and would be willing to use a Smartphone to manage their disease. Future digital health management tools should be tailored to the use patterns and preferences of the patients with cirrhosis and their caregivers.

  • healthcare innovation
  • qualitative research
  • telemedicine
  • healthcare delivery
  • technology
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