If you’re a dialysis patient, the reality is that your mobility is severely restricted. You need to give 3 months’ notice on average to dialyse at any other centre. This feels wrong. Having to plan so far in advance undermines the very principles of mobility, discouraging many patients from travelling and reducing their quality of life.
The main reason dialysis centres require so much advance notice is the process of arranging transfer of care. This process is extremely inefficient, unpredictable and hard to govern compliantly. Centres and their staff don’t like it. We should know – in our former roles, we used to run dialysis centres around the world. The problem was the same everywhere; with staff being stretched by their regular care responsibilities, it was hard for the nurses and doctors involved to justify spending up to 3 months coordinating what could involve only a single treatment away. It’s not surprising that staff in many centres which do have available capacity feel unable to promote it, so patients never get access to it.
This is a problem which is difficult for any individual centre operator to solve. While each centre can try their hardest, the process requires efficiency on both sides. Furthermore, the centres involved in any trip probably don’t know each other and are unlikely to deal with each other again. The centres could be on opposite sides of the world, in different time zones and speaking different languages.
So we decided to do something about it. We designed an independent solution with a standard process that all centre operators could subscribe to and which would ensure that any trip could be run efficiently, compliantly and transparently, regardless of the location of the centres or the length of the trip.
The UK government agreed with us; in September 2020, we were awarded a grant from Innovate UK to pursue the project and create DialysisAway. Since then, we’ve been working with a range of dialysis providers to develop and pilot the system. The system has proven so effective that the coordinators who trialled the product don’t want to continue with the old way.
We’re confident that DialysisAway will be a valuable resource for each member of the dialysis community:
Whichever role you play, help us to make a change for the better.