MEDIA RELEASE

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, March 9, 2010

LHSC – North American First
Telehomecare for Peritoneal Dialysis Patients

(LONDON, Ontario) – London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is the first hospital in North America to provide touch screen technology and health coaches to peritoneal home dialysis patients. This innovative program marks a significant change in how care is generally provided by hospitals to patients requiring dialysis.

Through the program, a dialysis nurse from LHSC is able to connect with and care for a patient on home dialysis using a telemonitor system installed in the patient’s home when they start home dialysis.

Telehomecare gives patients a feeling of being cared for on a daily basis while also promoting their independence, empowerment and quality of life while on dialysis.

The program is the result of a partnership between LHSC’s Peritoneal Dialysis Unit and Baxter Corporation, who in January 2009 began a ten month study to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of providing peritoneal home dialysis patients with touch screen technology and access to a health coach, all from the comfort of their home. Study results were analyzed and reported this month, in honour of World Kidney Month.

Says Neil Johnson, LHSC Vice-President, Medicine Services, “By providing the tools by which patients could identify health concerns and see and speak with their health care team, patients were able to identify any problems or health concerns, enabling the health care team to quickly intervene to avoid patients having to come to the emergency department or be admitted to hospital.”

Patients were asked to enter general overall health information, including blood pressure and blood sugar levels, fevers and infections, as well as other general health information, through touch screen technology, as well linking by computer screen to the peritoneal health care team at LHSC.

Patient responses were analyzed through a software program and identified as green – good results, yellow – questionable results, and red – results were unacceptable. Red results meant that the patient required telephone or video contact and if the health issue could not be resolved, the patient would be required to come to hospital.

The study found eight percent fewer emergency department visits and seventy percent fewer hospitalizations for the 26 patients involved in the study. Patients reported positive comments regarding the touch screen technology and the health coach. As a result, the provision of touch screen technology and health coaches will be continued for an additional three to six months, per patient.

About London Health Sciences Centre
London Health Sciences Centre has been in the forefront of medicine in Canada for 135 years and offers the broadest range of specialized clinical services in Ontario. Building on the traditions of its founding hospitals to provide compassionate care in an academic teaching setting, London Health Sciences Centre is home to Children’s Hospital, South Street Hospital, University Hospital, Victoria Hospital, two family medical centres, and Lawson Health Research Institute - a joint research initiative with St Joseph’s Health Care, London. As a leader in medical discovery and health research, London Health Sciences Centre has a history of over 30 international and national firsts and attracts top clinicians and researchers from around the world. As a regional referral centre, London Health Sciences Centre cares for the most medically complex patients including critically injured adults and children in Southwestern Ontario and beyond. The hospital’s 10,000 staff, physicians, students and volunteers provide care for more than one million patient visits a year. For more information visit www.lhsc.on.ca

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For more information contact:
Rachelle Wood
Corporate Communications and Public Relations
London Health Sciences Centre
519-685-8500, ext. 77642 pager 13077
rachelle.wood@lhsc.on.ca

After-hours assistance:
Call LHSC Switchboard at 519-685-8500 and ask to page the communication consultant on-call

Visit the LHSC Media web site at www.lhsc.on.ca/media

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Last Updated September 1, 2010 | © 2007, LHSC, London Ontario Canada