Article: Development and implementation of a Telenephrology dashboard for active surveillance of kidney disease: a quality improvement project
Authors: Melissa L Swee, M Lee Sanders, Kantima Phisitkul, George Bailey, Angie Thumann, Nikki Neuzil, Bharat Kumar, Amy M J O’Shea, Bradley S Dixon
Journal: BMC Nephrol. 2020 Oct 6;21(1):424
Background: Kidney disease accounts for more than 49 billion dollars in healthcare expenditures annually. Early detection and intervention may reduce the burden of disease. We describe a quality improvement project to develop a telenephrology dashboard that proactively monitors kidney disease.
Methods: One hundred eighty-four thousands Veterans within the Iowa City Veterans Affairs Health Care System were eligible for telenephrology consultation. The dashboard accessed the charts of 53,085 Veterans at risk for kidney disease. We utilized Lean-Six Sigma tools and principles and the Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control Framework to develop and deploy a telenephrology dashboard in 4 community-based outpatient clinics (CBOCs). The primary measure was the number of days to complete consultation. Secondary measures included number of electronic consultations per month, distance and cost of Veteran travel saved, and number of steps for completion of consult.
Results: The data of 1384 Veterans at the 4 CBOCs were analyzed by the telenephrology dashboard, of which 459 generated telenephrology consults. The number of days to complete any type of consultation was unchanged (48.9 days in 2019, compared to 41.6 days in 2017). The average Veteran saved between $21.60 to $63.90 per trip to Iowa City. Between March 2019 and August 2019, there were 27.3 telenephrology consults per month. The number of steps needed to complete the consult request was decreased from 13 to 9.
Conclusions: Utilization of the telenephrology dashboard system contributed to an increase in consultations completed through electronic means without decreasing face-to-face consults. Electronic consults now outnumber traditional face-to-face consultations at our institution. Telenephrology consultation improved early detection and identification of kidney disease and saved time and costs for Veterans in travel, but did not decrease the average number of days to complete consultation requests.
Link to journal online: https://bmcnephrol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12882-020-02077-0