American Society of Nephrology Annual Meeting

American Society of Nephrology Annual Meeting

Source:

Cahill, Z. What Is an artificial kidney and how do we steer the innovator community to build It? Presented at: ASN Kidney Week; Nov. 4-7, 2021 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: Cahill is an employee of the American Society of Nephrology.
November 05, 2021
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Patient input required when building an artificial kidney

Source:

Cahill, Z. What Is an artificial kidney and how do we steer the innovator community to build It? Presented at: ASN Kidney Week; Nov. 4-7, 2021 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: Cahill is an employee of the American Society of Nephrology.
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Developers of devices like the artificial kidney need to take advantage of technological advances, but the end users — in this case, patients with kidney disease — should be included as key advisers, a speaker said during Kidney Week.

Zachary Cahill

“We can all agree that patient needs drive innovation,” Zachary Cahill, an artificial kidney product specialist for American Society of Nephrology’s Alliance for Kidney Health, said during the ASN meeting, a virtual event.

“Home dialysis serves as a case study” for how patients can influence development of a device, he said.

A key change for patients when considering home dialysis is transitioning from a “controlled and standardized setting” — a dialysis center where patients’ care is provided directly to them — to dialyzing in the patient’s home, Cahill said, where they need to control and manage their own care.

The task is made more difficult because of the uniqueness of every home setting. “The home is far from standardized,” Cahill said. “People with kidney failure live in a variety of settings, including urban and rural environments, different family contexts, and different access to resources, like water,” he said.

Consumers want to buy products that meet their needs. “People with kidney diseases are consumers as well,” Cahill said. “Researchers make discoveries and turn them into clinical applications. That is an important part of product development that should be supplemented with a deep understanding of patients’ needs.”

Cahill supports the use of a needs-finding process to help identify what technology is trying to solve. He cited the use of such a process in the successful development of a vascular access device that was funded by the KidneyX program. Target product profiles “help the developer connect to patient needs and their problems,” Cahill said.

Ultimately, Cahill said, if developers don’t identify the problems that are part of the status quo for patients looking for a change — agreeing to in-center dialysis — staying with what they know may prove safer and more attractive for patients. “That is why it is important to identify the needs of the population we are trying to serve before we start to develop new, novel devices,” he said.