Alabama sets sights on telemedicine care for home dialysis patients

Man sitting at desk in front of computer

Alabama is going where telemedicine in the United States hasn't gone before: Treating home dialysis patients virtually.

A pilot project at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine is novel for the Yellowhammer State, where telehealth has not be used in a comprehensive capacity, according to an announcement. The initiative is being conducted in partnership with the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Eric Wallace, a nephrologist and UAB assistant professor of medicine, said if providing care for a home dialysis patient via telemedicine works, then he can “do this for any patient and virtually any disease.”

“It means that the subspecialty and super subspecialty care that may only be available in a university setting, such as rare diseases, can now be extended to every corner of Alabama,” Wallace said in the announcement.

To get telemedicine equipment to patients, UAB School of Medicine received help from the health department, which set up telehealth carts at county health department facilities.

“We are breaking new ground in supporting those who are interested and have the support system for home dialysis,” Michael Smith, director of telemedicine for the ADPH, said in an announcement. “Our cooperative agreement with UAB’s School of Medicine is a great partnership to further develop our telemedicine network. It’s actually a model that’s been well-established nationwide.”

At its annual meeting last week, the American Medical Association took a stronger stance on the importance of the services in healthcare today, saying that telehealth training should be part of medical school curricula.

To learn more:
- here's the announcement