Welcome to this week’s healthcare Knowledge Knugget! As a part of “The Executive Innovation Show” podcast, we’re bringing you the hot topics, questions we receive each week, game-changing ideas, best practices, and tips. During today’s topic, Carrie Chitsey talks about telehealth in nephrology.
Telehealth has seen a huge rise in nephrologists and renal care adoption. COVID has forced telehealth and it will be here to stay post-COVID. We are going to go over 7 main areas in which we’ve seen telehealth being used successfully in renal care.
1. Keeping Vulnerable Patients Safe
When you have a very vulnerable population that still has to go to dialysis three times a week, how do you keep the physicians and patients safe? Through telehealth appointments, nephrologists can have their monthly visits while the patient is sitting there for four-plus hours for treatment. This is a great way to reach out to renal patients and have more proactive care.
2. Dietitians for New Renal Patients
How do you communicate a very important factor for renal patients? Their diet. Telehealth gives dietitians the ability to mobilize and virtualize:
Home Dialysis Patients
Patients in Facilities
Conversations with Caregivers
Appointments about a renal diet
Dietitians that service multiple dialysis centers now can stay in one location or work from home and still see their patients without traveling.
3. Pre-End Stage Renal Disease Education
As we look at the rising number of patients that are going to have kidney disease, having those initial consults with the nephrologists to see how to lower and change patients’ number is important. And this can all be done via telehealth video consults. It is a perfect healthcare solution to offer to keep those in the earlier stages three or four safe.
Dialysis patients are typically on a lot of medication given that it’s chronic care and may not be the only chronic condition they have. Medication refills and office checkups can all be done through telehealth to keep both patients and the nephrologists safe as well.
5. Nursing Homes and Skilled Facilities
For nephrologists who do have patients in nursing homes and skilled facilities that are limiting the flow of people, telehealth can play a very important role. Doctors still need to be able to see those patients. You could have a nurse or CNA connecting for that patient that allows them to stay in the facility. Maintaining isolation while still having their appointments is critical.
6. Home Dialysis Patients
More and more patients are moving to home dialysis. These patients aren’t in the dialysis center but still need to see their nephrologists. To keep these vulnerable patients at home and provide proactive care, telehealth leads the way. Keep patients isolated and socially distanced while still receiving the care they need while on home dialysis.
7. Equipment Education and Assistance
While these renal care patients are doing home dialysis they still may have issues with equipment, such as their Baxter machine. They may even need more supplies or tech support. This is supercritical and can be done through video chat/telehealth. Provide immediate care and support without having to enter the home.
As we look at telehealth in nephrology, this is just the tip of the iceberg. In nephrology, we’ll be seeing a hybrid model to provide more proactive care to renal patients. Providers will be able to use telehealth to see patients at home, in facilities, and more. Nephrologists were pushed into telehealth overnight but are now really seeing the benefits.
Patients are commenting on how convenient telehealth is. When you have patients that have to do dialysis three times a week and see a doctor, convenience is critical. With COVID adoption and the bill that the presidential administration passed about home dialysis in 2025, this is a much-needed push for the industry.
Filled with insightful information, “The Driving Forces of Telehealth Adoption During COVID”, the infographic is now ready for download. Listen to the healthcare podcast where we talk about all the use cases for telehealth. Subscribe to the podcast and rate us! Have a Knowledge Knugget idea? Reach out and submit today.