Nephrology News & Issues
Focus on patient-friendly and connective technology should benefit home dialysis patientsMark E. Neumann
Mr. Neumann is Editor-in-Chief of Nephrology News & Issues magazine (www.nephrologynews.com).
Among the thousands of posters and multiple meeting rooms with interesting presentations at the American Society of Nephrology’s annual Kidney Week, taking place near the quiet beaches of San Diego this past November, there was something the industry has not seen in some time: an invigorated push for new dialysis machine technology.
The exhibit hall this year, as always, is a colossal cavern of companies, patient and professional nephrology organizations, data collecting and analysis groups (USRDS, DOPPS, PEER to offer a few acronyms), publishers—everything you need to know about nephrology.
What was intriguing this year, however, was the machine technology on display that had one message: simplicity for users and connectivity for staff.
• Outset Medical debuted the Tablo. It has been some time since the U.S. market has seen a new dialysis machine built from scratch for in-center use, and the company’s unique exhibit—a larger-than-life wooden crate—drew lots of attention. The company says the Tablo “is a system designed for simplicity… .” Company CEO Leslie Trigg has told NN&I that the machine should be ready for sale this spring.
• NxStage Medical offered attendees a glimpse into their future, with a detailed slide show and discussion at a nearby hotel on their plans for a new, bagless cycler for peritoneal dialysis, along with plans to improve on its groundbreaking System One home hemodialysis machine. CEO Jeffrey Burbank has called the new products “truly game-changing.” The new home hemodialysis system should be out in the fourth quarter and will produce carbonate buffered dialysate on demand from tap water, at “significantly higher flow rates than offered today,” Burbank said during an investor call last fall.
The new PD cycler under development eliminates the need for bags of fluid. We are planning to reinvent peritoneal dialysis the same way we reinvented hemodialysis,” Burbank said.” The system is expected to be ready in 2017.
• Baxter Health Care was taking orders on its new Amia PD cycler. Like other machines manufacturers, Baxter wanted the Amia to be simpler to use, lightweight, and offer technology that connected patient and caregiver. Its SharedSource is a GPS of sorts that helps staff monitor patients while on the cycler.
Baxter’s new home hemodialysis machine, VIVIA, is undergoing U.S. trials. The system is designed to be patient friendly; a touch screen and graphic user interface displays large, easy-to-comprehend graphics and animations that help guide patients through setup, treatment and cleanup, the company said. The machine has been approved for sale in Europe.
• Fresenius Medical Care, which has talked in general terms about using the sorbent technology it bought years ago from Renal Systems to develop a new home hemodialysis machine, is now working with Swiss engineering firm Debiotech SA to develop “a portfolio of state-of-the-art peritoneal dialysis technologies” to replace FMC’s aging Liberty cycler. You can get a view of the new machine, called Dialease, at www.debiotech.com.
With this new focus on technology and on patient-caregiver connectivity, it may finally be time for nephrologists—perhaps fearful in the past that patients were incapable of handling the rigors of the home dialysis experience––to buy a set of these new “easy-to-use” instructions.