Managing Clinical Tasks from Home
Many patients suffering chronic illnesses lament the loss of their independence. For someone who’s used to doing things for themselves a large portion of the time, finding yourself suddenly reliant on others can be a difficult transition.

Fortunately, a Canadian healthcare startup is trying to help patients retain their independence while also making the necessary lifestyle adjustments their condition demands. Binh Nguyen, a former graduate student in biomedical engineering at the University of Toronto, was working in the renal engineering department at a local hospital when he began to notice inadequacies in the administration of dialysis treatments.

Distraught with Dialysis

According to Nguyen, “Dialysis is typically done in the hospital. Patients will come in and sit in a chair for four hours each treatment and they do this three or four times a week, not including travel time to and from the hospital.”

“It’s a very disruptive process to have to introduce into your life. I know a lot of younger people who have to drop out of school or switch to a part-time basis or people who have to leave work because of this,” continues Nguyen.

In addition, most dialysis treatments are quite expensive. According to The Kidney Foundation, these treatments cost, on average, $83,000 per patient, per year. As Nguyen observed the financial and personal burdens that these treatments placed on the patients coming in and out of the hospital, he began to consider how things might be optimized.

Understanding Dialysis Treatments

Dialysis simulates kidney function, typically by inserting small tubes in the patient’s body to pump ‘dialysate’ into the bloodstream. Dialysate helps to clean waste products from the blood while also restoring electrolyte and mineral equilibrium throughout the body.

Because the treatment functions like an artificial organ, most patients benefit from spending as much time as possible connected to the dialysis machine. Unfortunately, most hospitals have limited resources, which limits their ability to offer longer treatment sessions for patients in need.

Shifting to In-Home Treatments

Because most hospitals are limited in their ability to offer dialysis treatments in sessions longer than three or four hours, efforts have begun to focus on bringing these treatments directly into patients’ homes. While this approach is not only significantly more convenient, it also reduces the cost of treatments to as low as $30,000 per patient, per year. It also eliminates the additional expenses most patients incur having to travel to a specialist or be admitted to specific facilities.

There are certainly downsides to offering in-home dialysis treatments, but Nguyen, along with co-founder Jonathan Tumkun, has designed a slew of solutions for in-home treatment administration. These solutions are packaged onto a personalized tablet that will help providers simplify, manage, and assist patients with their in-home dialysis care.

“I worked with some patients doing home dialysis and to see these people not let their chronic condition impede their lives was very inspiring to me. What I wanted to do was build solutions that would allow more patients to follow in their footsteps,” says Nguyen.

Fortunately for patients experimenting with in-home dialysis treatments, Nguyen and his team have managed to do just that. If you wish to learn more about the eQOL tool Nguyen’s team designed for “enhanced quality of life,” click here.


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Posted by: DSR
Monday, June 1, 2015
Tag: Healthcare
Business Start Ups
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