UAB Medicine, Alabama hospital partner on telehealth-based dialysis treatments

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University of Alabama at Birmingham will provide 24/7 nephrology care through telehealth to help treat kidney patients at Whitfield Regional Hospital in Demopolis, Ala., Demopolis Times reports.

Whitfield Regional Hospital, which does not have a nephrologist on staff, will no longer have to transfer patients out when they require treatments such as dialysis. Through the partnership, a UAB Medicine nephrologist will use video and audio conferencing technology to assess the Whitfield Regional Hospital patient. A Whitfield hospitalist or nurse practitioner will be present during the exam to assist the UAB Medicine provider.

The nephrologist will continue to use the telehealth technology to connect with the patient daily throughout his or her hospital stay. Up to four Whitfield patients can use the hospital's dialysis machines on a rotating schedule, and all patients are supervised by a dialysis-certified telehealth nurse and a dialysis-certified technician, according to the report.

The collaboration aims to help patients save time and money by not having to travel to another location for dialysis treatments once admitted. Additionally, the ability to remain close to home and to family and friends helps foster patients' support systems as they adjust to dialysis treatment for their chronic illnesses, said Eric Wallace, MD, medical director at UAB eMedicine, the publication reports.

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