KidneyX: A showcase for innovation
Editor’s note: In a series of articles, Healio.com/Nephrology will feature each of the 15 winners of phase 1 of the KidneyX Redesign Dialysis competition. Phase 1 asked participants to design possible solutions or solution components that can replicate normal kidney functions and improve patient quality of life. For phase I, CMS awarded 15 prizes of $75,000 each. In Phase 1, organizers sought designs of solutions that will address at least one of the following areas:
- replicate kidney functions (blood filtration, electrolyte homeostasis, fluid regulation, toxin removal and secretion, and/or filtrate drainage and connectivity);
- improve patient quality of life (eg, minimizing burden on the family and care partner(s), reducing disease and treatment complications, increasing mobility and physical activity); and
- improve renal replacement therapy access (vascular or peritoneal access) by addressing engineering challenges (eg, preventing clotting, bleeding, and infection in vascular circuit and associated devices).
Phase 2 will ask participants to develop and demonstrate prototype solutions. Phase 2 will have up to three awards of $500,000 each.
Our series begins with the work of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Check back for more profiles.
A wearable telehealth device designed to detect thrombosis and clots in vascular access for patients on hemodialysis was awarded $75,000 in funding from the KidneyX Redesign Dialysis Phase 1 competition.
Vinay Narasimha Krishna
Nephrology News & Issues spoke with Vinay Narasimha Krishna, MD, of the division of nephrology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who presented the device at the competition and is working on its development.
“I found out that many patients who are presenting for dialysis access de-clot procedure had not known that they were having a clotted dialysis access for many days, and they only found out about it when they came to the dialysis unit for dialysis,” Krishna told Nephrology News & Issues. “[It] was shocking to them to know that they could not dialyze that day and it led to a lot of disruptions and stress for them at a personal level.”
According to Krishna, the device will pair wirelessly to a nearby microcontroller. As the device tracks hemodialysis access clotting in real time, the wearable sensor unit sends data to a microcontroller. If there is no blood flow, the controller signals an alarm.
Krishna said, “The alert could be sent to either a smart phone or a smart tablet that the health care team uses and they can be alerted that [a] no blood-flow alarm has gone off.”
He said the most simplistic models will feature only a local alarm system, which features both light and sound alerts. Both models are currently in development and being tested for user friendliness, with tentative the deadline being the close of Redesign Dialysis Phase 2.
“The only training [would] be teaching patients how to wear this on their access and what they need to do if there's any [troubleshooting]; if the device falls off or if it's giving false alarms, how to check their access, that kind of thing,” Krishna said. “We are also working on interfacing this with a cell phone-based app. So, they may need minimal training on how to use the app.” – by Scott Buzby
Disclosure: Krishna reports that funding for the telehealth device was received from the KidneyX award.