In the wake of the announcement of Advancing American Kidney Health, and 6 months into after its merger with NxStage, Fresenius Medical Care North America announced record growth in its home dialysis program. The company now serves more than 25,000 patients at home, and the program is growing at nine times the rate of its in-center dialysis offerings.
“The goals of the executive order are aligned with our existing strategy and our company’s commitment to increasing the accessibility of home therapies for our patients. We have a company track record of steady investment in innovation to improve both the health care system and the experience for people living with kidney disease,” Robert Kossmann, MD, executive vice president and chief medical officer of FMCNA, told Nephrology News & Issues.
Investments in innovation
Kossmann said major investments in technological innovation – both through the merger with NxStage and through investments in FMCNA’s infrastructure – have enabled the company to rapidly increase capacity in home care services. The NxStage merger brought its Nx2Me telehealth technology to FMNCA, and the NxStage machines — both home hemodialysis and PD — allow clinicians to remotely access patient data.
“We have now integrated a tremendous team from NxStage that is helping accelerate innovation, both in technology and services, so that we can meet our ambitious goals and those outlined by the government,” Kossmann said.
“Empowering more of these people to dialyze at home will help more people live their best possible life with kidney failure."
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The company also has made rapid strides in transitional care by doubling the number of units to support patients in-center to safely and confidently move to home care and in online management through live workshops and online courses in the Advanced Renal Education Program and its newly launched cloud platform for remote patient monitoring and access to patient home treatment records. FMCNA also recently announced a major investment in BioIntelliSense to enable its development of a medical-grade data services platform, and began building a new distribution center specifically to allow for increased home dialysis options.
“As the country’s leading renal care products and services company, we are a key player in the innovation landscape for home therapies technology, as well as educating the nephrology community about the benefits of home therapy,” Kossmann said. “We are also investing in technologies for the future, including new innovations for remote patient monitoring and telehealth that, combined with predictive analytics and artificial intelligence, will make it easier to help patients avoid unnecessary hospitalizations.”
Empower patients to find best option
While FMCNA will continue to push for expansion of home care, Kossmann noted it is not always the best option for every patient.
“As a company, we’re aware that even with strong growth in home therapy, there remains a substantial, increasing number of in-center hemodialysis patients who must be cared for because the population needing renal replacement therapy is growing. We also note that, with time, we expect the population of patients requiring or choosing in-center hemodialysis will become more complicated, with greater medical needs, as a greater percentage of patients with more stable medical circumstances choose a home therapy for their dialysis needs.”
Additionally, he said, “kidney transplant should always be the first option for patients, if possible,” noting Fresenius Medical Care Foundation supports the National Kidney Foundation’s Big Ask, Big Give program, which helps kidney patients find living donors, as well as a newly announced partnership with Donate Life America to create the first national, universal living donor registry.
Yet, home dialysis offers a number of benefits over in-center treatment, Kossmann said, and patients need the tools to make an informed decision on the best modality for their specific situation.
“Empowering more of these people to dialyze at home will help more people live their best possible life with kidney failure, and [will] reduce the need to build additional centers. The most common thing I hear from patients is that you’ve given me my life back with home dialysis. I’ve heard it over and over, and it never gets old.” – by Amanda Alexander
Disclosures: Kossmann reports that he is chief medical officer for FMCNA.