It is estimated that 1.7 million inhabitants of the Netherlands have kidney damage. And at least half of these people don’t know that. Measuring the amount of protein in urine is the best way to find out if someone has failing kidneys. With preventive detection of protein in the urine, further deterioration of the kidneys can be prevented through medication and/or lifestyle adjustments, and thus, among other things, kidney transplants, dialysis and cardiovascular diseases.

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Population screening for kidney failure

Despite the large group of people with kidney damage, a comparable population study of kidney failure has never been conducted worldwide. Until now. A group of experts, led by Professor Ron Gansevoort of the UMCG, wants to know whether it is possible to conduct a large-scale population screening, and what the most effective test method is. To get an answer to this, the experts first conduct a ‘small-scale’ trial population study. 15,000 random people in the Breda region between the ages of 45 and 80 are sent the test.

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Different test methods for participants

These 15,000 participants are divided into two groups, each with its own test method. 7,500 participants receive a urethra by post. They collect urine in it and send it to the Amphia hospital in Breda

The other 7,500 participants participate via the home test method, in which a package received at home (including instructions to download an app) can be used to test the urine yourself with a test strip. They take a picture of it that is sent via the app.

Efficient processing of the data streams

The researchers of the NierCheck have to deal with many large data flows, after all, it is a study with 15,000 participants. Manual processing of the information in these data streams has several drawbacks. Firstly, it costs a lot of time and money, while it is a ‘pilot study’, with limited financial resources available. Secondly, manual processing creates an increased risk of errors. To counter these drawbacks, it is important to automate as much as possible and link data flows.

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Protecting privacy and personal data

As mentioned earlier, there are 15,000 random participants in this study, who receive several letters during the study. The correct name and address must therefore appear on the letter.
The privacy of the participants is an important spearhead in this study. To guarantee this, the researchers must work in a secure and shielded environment, to which only they have access.
The challenge here is to find out after the analysis which result belongs to which participant and it is therefore important to be able to automatically link the personal data of the participants to the correct information.

Web portal connects data via barcodes

An important part of the solution is building a web portal. In this web portal, the entire workflow is presented in a clear and orderly fashion. An important part of the web portal is the printing of the many letters (invitations, results, questionnaires, reminders, etc.) that are required for this research. The web portal shows which participant is where in the workflow. And so which letter should be printed and sent to this participant.

Another functionality of the web portal is linking the test to the participants through barcode scanning. All tests and participants have a unique barcode. If the researcher scans the barcode of the test method and the barcode of the participant, the barcodes are linked. This can be seen directly in the web portal.

Niklas Integratieplatform CopernicusThe web portal was built with the help of the Copernicus Integration Platform Niklas. This allows organizations to exchange electronic data in a simple and fully automated manner. This exchange can be, for example, between internal applications, different organizations (EDI), web shops or cloud services. And Niklas also comes in handy for the NierCheck.

Healthcare application works in a save environment

Protecting the privacy of participants is extremely important. This applies to medical data at all times. That is why the researchers have to work in a secure, shielded environment. This was made possible by our partner KPN E-Zorg. They provide a secure and reliable network that is only available to healthcare providers and providers of healthcare applications.


For more about track & trace in healthcare, please check our colleagues at CoperniCare