DEEPER DIVE … Some Current Kidney Health Innovations!

At VA Center for Innovation’s Kidney Innovation Summit, we learned about some innovations addressing patients unmet needs:

  • Dr. R. Brooks Robey of the White River Junction VA Medical Center, who presented on a new mobile App that VA is launching in the coming months, helped address the issue of patient education and doctor collaboration. The App not only puts information for patients right at their fingertips 24/7, but also allows doctors to better track patient habits and medical information. Through making care and education more convenient, the App can improve outcomes for Veterans.
  • Another VA innovation presented a solution to the limited access to living kidney donation. As one kidney patient at the conference said, “Nobody wants to be on dialysis. It is not a solution.” However, living kidney donation has a very low rate both in and outside of VA, as kidney donors often face many challenges including travel, funding and access to education on the process. Sharyn Kreitzer from the Bronx VA developed a program to tackle this through the idea that no Veteran should wait for a kidney transplant. Through promotion, education and greater support for the donor she has begun to change people’s understanding and attitude towards living kidney donations, and while her efforts focus on saving Veterans’ lives they are adaptable to public health care as well.
  • Innovations didn’t just come from VA. Dr. Mahesh Krishnan, DaVita Healthcare Partner’s International Chief Medical Officer and Group Vice President of Research and Development, spoke to solving one of the most basic problems of dialysis treatment: a lack of data standards. Unlike ATMs, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth medicine has not standardized the method in which data is transmitted. This means collaboration can be cumbersome at best and impossible at worst. The work he is doing, alongside the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is standardizing how we talk about dialysis in terms of data. With enough buy in, kidney care innovation can become far easier as researchers and caregivers share data that everyone understands.
  • While these innovations focused on improving medical care, the one subject that every speaker returned to was improving the patient experience. The first three presentations tackled detecting kidney disease earlier through new screenings and better detection methods. Dr. Deidra Crews of John Hopkins University presented her ideas for focusing on the psychological and social aspects of dialysis while Dr. Michael Fischer of VA discussed his work improving support for the informal caregivers (spouses, partners, children, etc.) of Veterans receiving home dialysis. The simple concept of delivering better access to treatment for patients led Dr. Rajeev Rohatgi of the Northport VA Medical Center to develop a telenephrology and renal disease identification program.
VA Kidney Innovation Summit attendees discussing current challenges

Reference source article here.

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