A Systematic Review and Qualitative Analysis of Existing Dietary Mobile Applications for People With Chronic Kidney Disease

Carl R. Russell, Clarisse Zigan, Kirsten Wozniak, Kshaunish Soni, Kathleen M. Hill Gallant, Allon N. Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: The goal of this study was to systematically evaluate the quality of electronic applications (apps) available for chronic kidney disease (CKD) dietary management. Methods: The review consisted of (1) a systematic search for all mobile CKD diet apps available on the App Store and Google Play Store, (2) an evaluation to determine how well existing apps met criteria for an ideal app, and (3) a systematic literature review of publications found through Google Scholar, Mendeley, and PubMed that reviewed specific CKD diet apps and the broader field. Results: After applying systematic search criteria, 10 unique apps were identified. Ten of 14 criteria considered necessary in an ideal CKD diet app were applied to the 13 apps. Important criteria such as tailoring recommendations to CKD stage or individual dietary needs, tracking nutrient intake, allowing data to be accessible to clinicians, availability on different app platforms, and including CKD-friendly recipes were not consistently available in the apps. None of the apps used the most contemporary nutrition guidelines on which to base their recommendations. While the literature suggests there is demand for CKD diet apps, common shortcomings of available apps including barriers to usability, inclusion of erroneous information, the requirement of a high e-literacy level, user costs, lack of privacy, security, and interactive features, and the inability of caregivers or family members to use apps to assist in patient care. Conclusions: The few CKD dietary apps currently on the market for people with CKD have notable limitations in terms of content and software design. Opportunities therefore exist for improving on available CKD diet apps and thereby fulfilling an important unmet need for patients with CKD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)382-388
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Renal Nutrition
Issue number4
Early online dateJul 29 2021
StatePublished - Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Financial Disclosure: K.H.G. receives salary support from NIH K01DK102864 . A.N.F. is a member of the scientific advisory board for GI Dynamics and is a consultant for Goldfinch Bio.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 National Kidney Foundation, Inc.


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