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Northern Health Tele-Kidney team runner-ups for work in expanding access to kidney care


13 people stand in a hospital hallway, smiling at the camera.
Several members of the Kidney Care team from 2017.

A huge congratulations to Northern Health’s (NH) Chronic Kidney Disease Team, this year’s runner-up for the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council’s (BCPSQC) Award for Excellence in Quality: Living with Illness!

NH’s Kidney Care team has improved telehealth service to rural and remote communities, expanding patient access to specialized team-based kidney care in Northern BC. Patients and families in 25 communities have benefited so far. The team will be recognized for their efforts at the February 2020 Quality Forum in Vancouver, where Dr. Anurag Singh will receive an honorary plaque.  

The whole team deserves credit, including the nephrologists (kidney doctors), nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, social workers, and nursing unit clerks. With funding support provided by the Specialist Services Committee, this team acted on their vision to grow access to telehealth so that patients could attend appointments remotely instead of having to travel.

“The Tele-Kidney Care Initiative enabled our vision to bring the best care for kidney patients in Northern BC closer to home,” said nephrologist Dr. Anurag Singh.

The team pursued their vision by changing the way they do their day-to-day work and how they provide education to meet patient preferences for appointments: either in-person, or via video.

Between April 2016 and March 2019, the team was able to nearly triple the number of patients reached by telehealth, even up into the far Northwestern corner of our province, which can have difficulties accessing specialist care.

Data from the project shows that patients are now more likely to be referred to a nephrologist or to the kidney clinic at an earlier stage of kidney disease, to choose home dialysis, and to report better quality of life and overall experience of health care.

Moving forward, the team will continue to raise awareness of the expanded services and work to extend reach to patients who can benefit from specialized kidney care. The team will also share the lessons learned with our partners, such as the First Nations Health Authority.

For more information about Tele-Kidney Care, call 250-649-7080.