An Ounce of Prevention and the ETC
Depending on who you are, dialysis can seem like a savior, or a monster. It consumes massive financial resources, both from clinics and US taxpayers, yet it saves lives in ways that could only be dreamed of a few generations ago. People who would have died of kidney failure can now live for years, which gives them—every day—another chance for the transplant that could return them to normal life.
So dialysis, like CABG surgery and penicillin before it, is here to stay. And while profitability is not the way to the future, cost-reduction certainly is. Governments all over the world, who bear the lion’s share of the financial burden, are always looking for a way to cut these expenses, both to reduce the load on the system, and to hopefully extend benefits to more needy people in the future.
This impetus has resulted in many studies and treatment models, for example, in the US, the new ESRD Treatment Choices (ETC) Model. ETC is not voluntary, at least not for the 30% of US clinics that are mandated to participate. (The remaining 70% function as a control.) The ETC model may be the most awkwardly-named trial in recent memory, but it could also be promising. ETC is restructuring how the money flows from Medicare to the clinics that provide treatment. Simply, in-home dialysis and transplant are cheaper, and often preferable alternatives to in-center dialysis, so ETC pays more for them. (Side note: while the cost advantages are not disputed, the appropriateness of in-home dialysis is still debated. Click here for our blog on that topic.) Overall, the US arguably falls behind the European Union and other developed regions in the promotion and adoption of home hemodialysis and transplant options, so programs like this are a huge step forward. The ETC Model also provides additional support to providers for caring for underserved patients, and is intended to preserve or enhance the quality of care provided to all ESRD patients.
However, the goal to reduce expenditures and enhance quality of care shouldn’t stop at incentivizing home dialysis or transplant. For many patients, the ability to receive a transplant will remain out of reach. For others, home hemodialysis is not a feasible option, and they will still choose the support and security of clinic-based hemodialysis.
So, what have we learned after watching dialysis care around the world for 26 years? Our HD03 monitor improves patient care by allowing clinicians to quickly and easily measure delivered flow and recirculation, so the clinician knows for sure that the patient is receiving their proper dialysis prescription or is able to adjust it accordingly. It also provides quantitative vascular access flow measurements which can provide early warnings about flow-obstructing stenosis, allowing intervention before the patient’s vascular access—their life-line—is threatened. Vascular Access Flow measurements can also prevent painful, unnecessary and costly interventions when flow rates are within limits. (Side Note: we also offer a surgical Flow meter that can be used during fistula creation and banding procedures so the clinician can be better assured of fistula maturation, or set the banding strictures at the exact blood flow rate that is needed, rather than stacking the patient’s wellbeing on a guess.)
Click here to see exactly what the Transonic HD03 can do to help you keep your patients healthier and safer (and save all the expenses that begin piling up when things go wrong.)
Afterall, as Ben Franklin would remind us, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
And as always, thanks for reading,
Transonic Systems, Inc.
The Measure of Better Results
Source 2: http://innovation.cms.gov/innovation-models/esrd-treatment-choices-model