Unique dialysis device with telehealth capabilities connects home therapy patient to doctor 250 miles away

Posted: December 17, 2016 | Word Count: 942
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Joann Still is living the life she wants despite a 21 year battle with a medical condition that caused her kidneys to stop working. Fortunately, recent advancements in medical technology allow Still to maintain her home in rural Nebraska and an active life filled with family, friends and work — 250 miles away from her doctor. Still performs peritoneal dialysis at home in the evenings while she sleeps. Meanwhile, her healthcare providers are using a first-of-its-kind, two-way telehealth platform to monitor Still’s therapy and securely adjust her treatment from their office in Lincoln, Nebraska.

A mother of three, Still has lived and worked in rural Nebraska her entire life. In her late forties, she was diagnosed with membranous nephropathy, a kidney disease that can progress to end-stage renal disease (ESRD) requiring patients to go on dialysis therapy or receive a transplant. As time went on and the disease gained momentum, she began feeling worse and worse.

“I did not realize how much I had declined and how bad I was feeling,” Still said. “I didn’t have the energy to work in the yard, go anywhere or do anything. I was just existing.”

Earlier this year, Still’s doctor indicated she needed to start dialysis to filter toxins from her blood, the work her kidneys were no longer performing. Current dialysis options include peritoneal dialysis (PD) or hemodialysis (HD).

PD is a self-administered therapy managed at home by patients. The therapy works inside the body, overnight, using the abdominal lining as a natural filter to remove toxins from the bloodstream. PD therapy also may facilitate preservation of a person’s remaining kidney function. During HD, a patient’s blood is sent through a filter to remove toxins from the body. HD is usually performed at a hospital or dialysis center three times a week for three to five hours per session.

From her peaceful ranch in Nebraska, the nearest HD center is 80 miles away. The three-hour commute, in addition to a four-hour treatment session would make it hard for Still to maintain her home and lifestyle. And, she would need someone to transport her to and from the treatment sessions, which created additional challenges for her and her adult children’s work schedules. For Still, PD therapy provided the best clinical and lifestyle option.

“My peritoneal dialysis has been so easy to do at night, by myself, and then I get up and go about my day — doing whatever I want,” Still said.

Still’s renal care team in Lincoln offered her access to the AMIA Automated Peritoneal Dialysis System with the SHARESOURCE remote patient management platform, a unique home dialysis system developed by Baxter.

“The best part of the AMIA system is that it is patient-friendly,” Still said. “The machine walks you through the steps for my treatment preparation. All I have to do is listen to her; there are pictures on the screen to guide me, as well. Overall, it is very simple.”

AMIA was designed so more patients may have the ability to perform therapy from their home with intuitive features, such as voice guidance, a touchscreen control panel and the SHARESOURCE remote patient management platform. AMIA also is up to 40 percent smaller and 30 percent lighter than another cycler on the market, HOMECHOICE, and features a folding design when the touch screen is not in use. [1], [2]

The compact design means Still can pack AMIA in her car or take it on an airplane, enabling her to conduct therapy when traveling for work or leisure. Still tested this out earlier in the year when she traveled with the AMIA system to Texas for her granddaughter’s high school graduation.

SHARESOURCE is a secure telehealth platform that also allows Still’s healthcare providers to proactively manage her care by viewing recently completed home dialysis-related treatment data that is automatically collected after each PD session. Her healthcare providers can then act on this information by remotely adjusting her home device settings without requiring her to go to the clinic.

“It’s like knowing you’ve got a guardian angel looking over you,” Still added.

Still now visits her nephrologist in Lincoln once a month, a much simpler commute than traveling three days a week for hemodialysis therapy. And between her monthly visits, Still feels confident about her healthcare team in Lincoln being able to view data from her therapy sessions in a timely manner.

“Peritoneal dialysis has given me my life back,” Still said. “I encourage anyone facing kidney failure to talk with their nephrologist about all their treatment options, including doing peritoneal dialysis at home.”

The AMIA Automated PD System is intended for automatic control of dialysate solution exchanges in the treatment of adult renal failure patients undergoing peritoneal dialysis. All therapies using the AMIA Automated PD System must be prescribed and performed under the responsibility of a physician who is familiar and well-informed about peritoneal dialysis.

The SHARESOURCE remote patient management platform is intended for use by healthcare professionals to remotely communicate new or modified treatment parameters with compatible dialysis instruments and transfer completed treatment data to a central database to aid in the review, analysis, and evaluation of patient’s historical treatment results. This system is not intended to be a substitute for good clinical management practices, nor does its operation create decisions or treatment pathways.

Baxter, AMIA, SHARESOURCE and HOMECHOICE are trademarks of Baxter International, Inc.

Rx only. For safe and proper use of the devices mentioned herein, refer to the complete instructions in the Operator's Manual.

This is one patient’s perspective. Individual results may vary. Talk with your healthcare provider for therapy options that are best for you.

[1] Amia Automated PD System Patient Guide. Baxter Healthcare Corporation. Deerfield, IL.

[2] HomeChoice and HomeChoice PRO APD Systems Patient At-Home Guide. Baxter Healthcare Corporation. Deerfield, IL.

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