Dr. Desiree Garcia-Anton (DG), from the University of Miami and Miami VA Medical Center in Miami, Florida, discusses her abstract for the National Kidney Foundation’s 2016 Spring Clinical Meetings (SCM16), Tele-Nephrology: A Feasible Way to Improve Access to Care for Patients With Kidney Transplantation Who Reside in Underserved Areas, with Dr. Kenar Jhaveri, AJKD Blog Editor.
AJKDblog: Why don’t you tell us a little about your research and abstract being presented at the NKF 2016 Spring Meetings?
DG: We conducted a retrospective study to evaluate the efficacy of the Transplant Tele-Nephrology Clinic. In this era of continued technological advances, tele-medicine is gaining more and more interest as a way to provide and improve access to healthcare, especially for those who reside in remote locations. As the Miami VA Healthcare system serves a large population and radius (~175,000 people and 500 miles, respectively) a patient-provider Tele-Nephrology Clinic for kidney transplant recipients was implemented in order to overcome the geographical barriers and facilitate and ensure care for that population. This is of particular importance in our continuously growing transplant population that requires close follow-up.
AJKDblog: How can you improve this technology to address a large number of patients?
DG: As with all technologies, Tele-Nephrology continues to evolve. With this technology, we are fortunate to be able to provide care to a large number of patients who would otherwise be deprived of such treatment. Nonetheless, we aim to create more tele-clinics to accommodate patient’s needs and schedules.
Although this is a pilot study, based on our results, this technology can be implemented in other VA facilities. It also would be provocative and interesting to expand it to non-VA healthcare systems.
AJKDblog: Where do you and your group go from here?
DG: As reflected in our study, we have successfully established Tele-Nephrology in our transplant population with excellent results and fantastic feedback from our patients.
We are very excited to continue to use a technology that allows us to follow our patients in a timely manner, which subsequently improves outcomes and overall quality of life. Additionally, we would like to conduct further studies on this subject with a larger patient sample. We also aspire to increase awareness and utilization of this valuable and effective tool, not only in the Nephrology field but in other specialties as well.
All Spring Clinical Meeting abstracts are available in the May issue of AJKD.