With the opening of a pre-transplant kidney evaluation clinic in Jackson, Tenn., the Vanderbilt Transplant Center is joining a range of other clinical programs participating in telemedicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC).
Intent on providing better access to patients seeking evaluations, the new clinic, a first for the Transplant Center to utilize telemedicine technology, will serve as a supplemental resource and offer appointments once a month.
"We appreciate Vanderbilt bringing much-needed telemedicine services to our patients who have been referred for kidney transplants. This type of care delivery enhances access to sub-specialty care in our region and supports our mission of improving the health and well-being of the communities we serve," said James Ross, president and CEO of West Tennessee Healthcare.
While telemedicine evaluation is a cost-efficient tool that allows patients to remain close to home, patients will continue to be offered a choice between the telemedicine clinic or being seen on campus in Nashville.
"The Transplant Center's addition of this clinic is an important step in our initiative to expand telemedicine services across more specialties, and advances our commitment to better meet patients' needs where they are," said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, MD, deputy chief executive officer and chief health system officer for VUMC.
"We will see patients who have been referred to us for kidney transplant in an effort to save them at least one trip to Vanderbilt," said Rachel Forbes, MD, assistant professor of Surgery and surgical director of the living donor transplant program at Vanderbilt. "We are hoping this will be a valuable tool for those patients who have a distance to travel.
"I think we are rare in offering this service as a screening tool, but we have had success using telemedicine at the Veterans Affairs hospital for years for kidney transplant evaluations. Because of the positive experience and findings for both providers and patients, we felt it would be good to roll out a telemedicine clinic at Vanderbilt," she said.
Forbes, along with Beatrice Concepcion, MD, assistant professor of Medicine, will evaluate at least four patients per month using the telemedicine assessment model. "This option will allow patients real-time assessments without the burden of travel," said Forbes. "We will have documents from their referring physician and information provided during the intake process. We can get a thorough history and a very good sense of any issues and determine further testing that will be required for evaluation."