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New digital tools are transforming kidney care in Wales

22 May 2022 3 minute read
Health Minister Eluned Morgan visits renal unit, image Welsh Government

A new all-Wales digital system is cutting hospital visits while helping people with chronic kidney disease manage their care through technology.

Swansea Bay University Health Board renal unit has developed the new digital care system, with £1.8m funding support from Welsh Government’s Transformational Fund.

The unit says that the digital platform has transformed service delivery, enabling those living with the disease to access their blood results and dosing instructions through a patient portal and adjust their treatment from their personal devices, receiving high quality care from any location.

People with chronic kidney disease often face a lifetime of health challenges; most require specialist medicines, and some require dialysis or a transplant.

The all-Wales system brings together all kidney care records together allowing the treating clinician and other clinical departments to access blood results and medical and nursing notes remotely from wherever someone is receiving treatment.

This allows renal services to offer the same high quality of care across Wales and for information to be shared across settings to better inform decisions about other health conditions.

The digital tool allows renal units across Wales access to the expertise of 346 nurses and 117 digital prescribers, and a digital hub has also been produced to provide education material to help people understand and actively manage their condition.

A new virtual reality app allows people on dialysis to see how the equipment can fit within the home and the impact it will have on their day to day lives.

With over 45k medications administered every month the tool removes the geographical challenges to accessing services and treatments by allowing treatments to be prescribed from any location and be instantly available wherever the patient is receiving care.

For people needing lifelong dialysis, education and training videos, patient stories and documentaries are available to demonstrate the benefits of home dialysis and how it can improve quality of life by giving patients more freedom by reducing hospital visits and allowing them to continue working.

Collaborative approach

Visiting the Kidney Care Collaborative at Morriston Hospital, Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “Chronic conditions have a tremendous impact on someone’s wellbeing and quality of life.

“It is fantastic that our Transformation Fund has supported the Collaborative Kidney Care team to create an all-Wales Digital Platform to deliver care and give people the confidence and the knowledge to self-manage their own condition.

“By using innovative technology health care providers can treat more people, access information anywhere and use virtual surveillance and clinical dashboards, helping for safer, quicker treatment and prevents missed doses.

“We need to transform health care in Wales and technological innovations like this which help deliver care closer to home and reduce pressure on our hospitals which are central to our vision.”

Professor Chris Brown, consultant pharmacist for Swansea Bay University Health Board and the Welsh Renal Clinical Network said: “This modernisation has been more than implementing new technology.

“Going digital has required us to build a culture for innovation and doing things differently, taking the staff and the people we care for along our journey and placing them at the heart of our service design.

“Our collaborative approach to kidney care has ensured what works for one part of Wales can work for all of Wales, and this has raised the ambition for how modern kidney care should look”.

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