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Intermountain Healthcare’s New Patient-Centered Kidney Care Program Focuses on At-Home Kidney Dialysis, Pre-emptive Transplant

07:42 EDT 11 Sep 2019 | Businesswire
Intermountain Healthcare

Imagine having to go into a medical clinic for several hours three or more times a week to receive life-saving care. On top of that, you also have a chronic condition that requires that you have to arrange visits with multiple caregivers, as well as having lifestyle requirements of diet, exercise, medications, and physical care.

That’s what patients with chronic kidney disease have to face every day.

But now, Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City is launching a unique Kidney Care Center that brings doctors, nurses, dietitians and together to help kidney patients get the vital care they need in a convenient and easy manner – even at home.

The new first of-its-kind Kidney Care Center and service is located at Intermountain Medical Center but will serve patients wherever they live through telehealth care and at-home dialysis.

Chronic kidney disease includes conditions that damage the kidneys and decrease their ability to keep a person healthy. If kidney disease gets worse, wastes can build to high levels in the blood and make patients feel sick. Kidney disease is one of the most impactful chronic conditions, affecting an estimated 37 million people in the U.S.

“People can spend their whole lives — it feels like — in a dialysis center receiving hemodialysis,” said Intermountain President and CEO Marc Harrison, MD. “It affects them emotionally, physically, and it affects their families.”

The goal of the new kidney care center is to increase access to treatment, specifically before dialysis is ever needed. The new center has the capacity to focus on prevention and early detection, even facilitate early transplant, if necessary — truly “doing the right amount at the right time for each patient," Dr. Harrison said.

“Having people in the least restrictive, least expensive and most holistic environment possible for them to stay as well as they can is most ideal situation,” he said, adding that the new patient-centered approach “can drive value over cost over time.”

“One way to accomplish this is through in-home care for kidney dialysis patients, a care process that allows patients to have treatments that fits their schedule, and follow-up that is done via video-enabled calls to a caregiver,” said Suji Lee, MD, medical director of the Intermountain Kidney Care Center.

Dialysis is essentially a filtering treatment dialysis to keep the body in balance by removing waste, salt and extra water to prevent them from building up in the body.

“With telehealth, we can provide care to patients in their home or any rural community throughout the Intermountain West,” said Dr. Lee. “We can review their recent numbers such as blood pressure or blood sugars, make recommendations and adjust prescriptions or care, all without the need for them to travel into the clinic.”

The Intermountain Kidney Care Center will also have a unique focus on pre-emptive transplants, where patients are matched with living kidney transplant donors prior to end-stage renal failure – the point where an individual’s kidneys no longer function sufficiently to maintain proper health. Other parts of the program include genomic testing, identifying and helping patients at risk of kidney disease, and customizing recommendations for treatment.

Intermountain Healthcare is a not-for-profit system of 24 hospitals, 215 clinics, a Medical Group with 2,500 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health insurance company called SelectHealth, and other health services in Idaho, Utah, and Nevada. Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes and sustainable costs.

Lance Madigan: 801.691.6383 / lance.madigan@imail.org

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