Tele-Nephrology Allows UC Health Experts to Treat Kidney Disease Miles Away

A new pilot program will allow UC Health experts to provide inpatient nephrology consultations, clinical support and monitoring—from a distance—to patients with end-stage renal disease who require dialysis. The pilot, one of only a few in the country, is being tested in partnership with Meadowview Regional Medical Center in Maysville, Kentucky.
This “Tele-Nephrology” pilot, part of UC Health’s Kidney CARE (Clinical Advancement, Research and Education) program, aims to keep patients at their local hospitals—near their homes and support networks—while still offering them access to the advanced specialty care available at an academic health system like UC Health.

telehealthThrough the pilot with Meadowview, an admitted patient also in need of dialysis will be treated on site by their Meadowview physician, who will consult—via telehealth technologies—with UC Health nephrology experts on the patient’s kidney care.

“The UC Health Tele-Nephrology program allows patients with renal disease and other kidney-related conditions to be treated at their local hospitals with direct access to world-class care from our UC Health experts,” says Charuhas Thakar, MD, UC Health nephrologist and director of the UC College of Medicine Division of Nephrology and Hypertension. “The patient no longer needs to endure the geographical barriers and expense of being transported to a hospital, especially when traveling long distances, which may be disruptive to the patient or their families.”

The American Society of Nephrology’s Kidney Health Initiative has recently announced that utilization of technology in dialysis care is one of its top priorities to improve access to care and promote self-care.

“One of our objectives is to develop a ‘hub-and-spoke’ model in the region for specialty renal care to communities where it may not be readily available,” says Thakar. “We want to be a clinical resource to both patients and their providers in our region.

“Our UC Health physicians will form the core team of clinical experts, and are experienced in delivering world-class care to patients with kidney disease and those in need of dialysis and transplantation.”

UC Health is a major referral center for all stages of kidney disease and transplantation. The relationship with Meadowview Regional Medical Center was born out of an outreach program developed by UC Health in 2010 to connect specialists with people in rural areas suffering from kidney disease. UC Health nephrologists have been traveling throughout Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana to help patients overcome barriers to successful kidney care.

The Tele-Nephrology pilot is supported by the UC Health Telehealth Network and will be kick started by by nephrology experts Mahmoud El-Khatib, MD, Amit Govil, MD. Team members soon to join the pilot are Ganesh Yadlapalli, MD, Ajay Srivastava, MD, and Mary Bieting, advanced practice nurse.

The Tele-Nephrology technology was tested during a mock consultation Thursday, Jan. 7, with Meadowview CEO Robert Parker.

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