Using Telemedicine to Improve Lives

David McFadden David McFadden, MD, is an independent nephrologist in Morris, Joliet, and New Lenox, Illinois. He is affiliated with Affiliated Dialysis, in which he has a joint venture in a home hemodialysis program and in an in-center dialysis facility. He is also affiliated with Myowndoctor, a telemedicine company.

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Medicare began paying for eight telemedicine visits a year instead of 12 face-to-face visits as of January 2019. This allows patients to avoid missing work and reduces exposure to inclement weather, as in Anna’s family’s case. In addition, telemedicine visits save the family and the nephrologist travel expense.

This year I plan to use population health management with my kidney failure patients, both at home and in center, to decrease hospitalizations. For example, I will send push notifications to my kidney failure patients through their cell phones each weekend to encourage them to avoid excess fluid and potassium-enriched foods. This alone will decrease admission rates. In addition, I plan to push notifications to my chronic kidney disease patients to help slow the progression of kidney disease. For example, I will send monthly push notifications through my patients’ cell phones to avoid salt and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and to exercise regularly. These are just some of the many ways in which telemedicine can be used to combat kidney disease.