News & Trends - MedTech & Diagnostics

A new patient-centric approach to kidney disease management

Health Industry Hub | August 9, 2023 |

MedTech & Diagnostics News: With an estimated ten million people worldwide in dire need of dialysis due to terminal kidney failure, accessibility to this crucial treatment has remained a pressing concern. Astonishingly, only 2.6 million individuals currently have access to dialysis, leaving a grim gap that threatens to widen.

Nepean Hospital in Penrith has introduced a pioneering night-time dialysis service that promises to enhance the way patients with kidney failure receive life-saving treatment. This innovative approach, a first in the NSW public hospital, not only offers improved efficacy but also grants patients newfound flexibility in managing their health.

Haemodialysis, a vital treatment for individuals battling kidney failure, involves the process of circulating blood through an artificial kidney for several hours a day, multiple times a week, can present significant challenges for patients. Though life-sustaining, this demanding regimen can pose significant challenges for patients, often constraining their daily lives.

The George Institute is predicting that the number of patients requiring dialysis will double to over five million by 2030. However, medtech startup Ellen Medical Devices, an offshoot of The George Institute, is engineering an affordable dialysis system to bridge this critical gap. Currently, the Australian kidney dialysis market is dominated by Baxter, Fresenius, and B. Braun, capturing around 70% of the market share.

Faced with the escalating demand for dialysis services in the Penrith region, Associate Professor Kamal Sud and the team at Nepean Hospital’s Renal Service have risen to the occasion. Extending dialysis services as an innovative overnight treatment paradigm promises a myriad of benefits for both patients and medical professionals.

“For some of our patients, providing haemodialysis treatments at night frees up their days for activities that matter most to them, improving their quality of life,” revealed A/Professor Sud.

Yet, the advantages of night-time haemodialysis do not cease there. Extended treatment sessions during the nocturnal hours have been proven to yield improved clinical outcomes, a welcome revelation for patients and caregivers alike.

“Most patients can sleep during their treatment, and over the course of seven to eight hours, dialysis can be a gentler procedure. This can help patients feel better following their treatment sessions,” A/Professor Sud elaborated.

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Since the inception of the night shift, the benefits have been resoundingly evident. Not only do existing patients enjoy increased flexibility in selecting treatment times, but the service has also expanded its capacity to accommodate new patients at a moment’s notice, heralding a new era of agility and effective care delivery.

“The night shift has garnered praise from our dedicated nursing staff too,” confirmed Faren Rollo, the service’s Nurse Manager. “The quite night-time environment provides a welcomed respite for both staff and patients. Additionally, having a night-time option aligns seamlessly with the lifestyles and family routines of some of our nurses.”

Notably, this innovative approach also holds promise for boosting service capacity without incurring additional infrastructure costs, a testament to its scalability.

“This is a very scalable project which could go on to benefit other services in the state. This transformative approach harnesses existing resources to offer more treatments while magnifying the clinical advantages for patients,” A/Professor Sud commented.

“We are actively gathering feedback from patients, particularly concerning their sleep experiences. As the procedure is still invasive, we aim to comprehensively understand how overnight dialysis may be influencing their well-being,” Professor Sud explained, demonstrating an unwavering commitment to refining the care paradigm.

According to Diabetes Australia “Dialysis is one of the two treatments available for kidney failure. It helps keep people alive but it has a huge impact on people’s mobility and quality of life. Most kidney failure is preventable if detected early but we need to increase the number of people getting checks within the recommended time frames. That’s why we need a Diabetes Kidney Disease Screening Program to make kidney checks easy and convenient for people living with diabetes.”

Beyond the hospital walls Professor Sud is actively promoting the model within professional networks across the state. The ripple effect of this initiative could potentially pave the way for other medical units to glean insights from Nepean Hospital’s experience, ushering in a new era of patient-centric kidney care.

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