Intermountain Healthcare recently joined with eight other leading healthcare organizations to launch Innovate Kidney Care, a new campaign to improve patient options for receiving home dialysis training and support.
“Dialysis is a life sustaining treatment for patients whose kidneys have failed or aren’t working properly,” said Ray Morales, Assistant Vice President, Intermountain Healthcare Kidney Services.
He explains that when an individual’s kidneys fail, dialysis keeps the body in balance by:
- Removing waste, and extra water to prevent them from building up in the body
- Keeping a safe level of certain chemicals in your blood, such as potassium, sodium, and bicarbonate
- Helping to control blood pressure
“As amazing as this is, it is a very time-consuming process,” Morales said. “Typically, patients receive treatment called hemodialysis three times a week, taking about four hours each treatment.”
Traditionally, hemodialysis in performed in a hospital or medical clinic setting, but that can be both physically and emotionally demanding for them and their care partners. “As technology and treatment options have improved, new safe and effective options have been developed for patients facing kidney failure to self-dialyze at home,” said Morales. “However, these home options are underutilized in the U.S. for a variety of reasons, some of which are due to regulations developed decades ago before home dialysis was a widely available option.”
Intermountain Healthcare has recently joined with a diverse group of industry organizations in a project called Innovate Kidney Care. It’s goal is to advocate for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to modernize the End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Conditions for Coverage and related guidance in order to achieve the quadruple aim of better patient outcomes, improved patient experience, improved health care practitioner experience and lower costs of care.
“Intermountain Healthcare is committed to providing the best care possible to patients, whenever and wherever they are,” said Morales. “Through new technology, remote monitoring, and innovation, patients can receive treatment at home in a time and setting of their choosing, reducing barriers, improving adherence to treatment plans, and improving overall outcomes.
“The dialysis industry has long been stagnant when it comes to delivering innovation to patients,” said Tonya Saffer, spokesperson for Innovate Kidney Care. “We now have new, patient-centered dialysis technologies, and healthcare providers who want to innovate care delivery in order to enable more options for where and how self-dialysis can be trained and supported. We can accelerate home adoption by updating outdated regulatory restrictions for both patients and providers. Innovate Kidney Care’s goal is to advocate for modernizing the Conditions for Coverage, empowering patients – regardless of race, ethnicity, or income – to have a choice in adopting home dialysis and reaping the benefits of having more time for living versus dialyzing.”
Innovative Kidney Care’s seeks to:
- Remove barriers to home dialysis training and support so more patients can benefit from the flexibility and personalization of treatment that home dialysis can provide.
- Differentiate regulations to expand home dialysis training and support, and improve patients’ transitions of care.
- Alleviate clinician burden of administrative tasks so they can focus on patient outcomes, empowerment, and safety.
- Allow for home dialysis training and support to be delivered in a variety of healthcare settings.
“Through innovation and adaptation of policy, patients can experience improved care, more convenient delivery, all the while lowering costs,” said Morales. “This campaign is aligned with the vision of Intermountain’s Kidney Services which is to help patients and their caregivers with kidney disease live the healthiest lives possible by ensuring they receive a cutting-edge, fully-integrated, and coordinated experience throughout the continuum of their care.”
Founding members include Intermountain Healthcare, the American Society of Nephrology (ASN), Anthem, Inc., Cricket Health, CVS Kidney Care, Home Dialyzors United (HDU), the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), Outset Medical, Inc., and Strive Health.