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Telephone clinics for kidney transplant patients save time and money

6 November 2017

Telephone clinics for kidney transplant patients are an effective alternative to face-to-face consultations, the Chronic Kidney Disease Health Integration Team (CKD HIT) has found. The team’s quality improvement (QI) project found that using telephone clinics is deliverable, safe and well received by patients.

Part funded by the West of England Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), the project aimed to improve patient experience and productivity, and reduce the environmental impact of travel to face-to-face clinics.

Kidney transplant patients normally attend Southmead Hospital every 3-4 months. This can involve a round trip of up to 140 miles for some patients. This project used QI to test the use of telephone clinics so patients could speak to a consultant from the comfort of their own homes.

The telephone clinics ran from August 2016 to July 2017 and involved 168 patients, and an evaluation found:

  • 97.9% of patients were satisfied with their telephone clinic
  • 96.9% of patients would recommend the telephone clinic
  • An immediate saving of £6,000 to commissioners, plus other productivity benefits
  • A saving of more than 3,500 miles of motorised travel

Patients told the team:

“It seemed to be a longer time to talk than when you go into the hospital. I think it was because you can be more prepared whilst you are at home.”

“Went as well as if I was sat in clinic.”

“I think it was great, we covered everything we do in clinic without me having to travel.”

The next step is to embed the service and deliver even more improvements for both kidney transplant patients and patients with chronic kidney disease in the region.

Dr Udaya Udayaraj, Consultant Nephrologist at Southmead hospital, Bristol and Director of the CKD HIT said:

“We’re very pleased with how this quality improvement project has gone. It’s been great to be able to offer a service that better fits the lives of people with a kidney transplant, while also saving money and helping the environment. We would like to thank all the patients who took part in this work, North Bristol trust staff, GP practices who kindly facilitated blood tests for the clinic and the West of England Academic Health Science Network for supporting it.”

Download the full report.

Telephone clinics for kidney transplant patients save time and money
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