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Abstract: SA-PO951

Enhanced Telemedicine With Trained Medical Assistants Using Augmented Reality Glasses for Inpatient Nephrology Visits

Session Information

Category: CKD (Non-Dialysis)

  • 2202 CKD (Non-Dialysis): Clinical‚ Outcomes‚ and Trials

Authors

  • Barrantes Ramirez, Thelmo Fidel Ernesto, Renal Medicine Associates, Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
  • Adi, Chudi, CADIS Healthcare Inc, Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
  • Kumar, Jayant, Renal Medicine Associates, Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
Background

Tele-nephrology utilizes communication technologies to provide care to patients with kidney diseases. Inpatient non-nephrology telemedicine services have shown positive outcomes such as decreased mortality and length of hospital stay. Despite its advantages, “conventional” telemedicine is limited by inadequate clinical examination, and reduced provider/patient emotional connection. Here, we report the use a novel inpatient telemedicine delivery model with trained medical assistants (MAs) wearing augmented reality (AR) glasses and using a digital stethoscope (DS) capable of maintaining real-time audio-visual telecommunication with the nephrologist.

Methods

Six MAs underwent a customized 6-week long training on history taking, physical examination (PE), and use of the AR telehealth platform with two nephrologists. Training involved hands-on interaction with patients. Inpatient telemedicine privileges were provided by the hospital. Inpatient visits were performed by the MA equipped with AR glasses capable of hands-free operation, and a live-transmitting DS. The consulting nephrologist was located remotely, and could synchronously see and hear what the MA was experiencing in patients’ rooms. Direct communication with the patient if needed, and real-time guidance to the MA including AR telestration capabilities, were provided by nephrologist. Auscultation sounds were live streamed to the nephrologist located remotely within or outside the hospital facility.

Results

Between January and April 2022, 89 patients consented to participate. The average patient age was 62.3 years, and 65.5% were male. From the total, 14.6% were new consults and 85.3% were follow-ups. Average encounter time was 21.2 minutes. PE was completed in all patients,17.9% were seen on dialysis. After, each encounter, the MA surveyed the patient on usefulness, technology interface quality and interaction quality.
Of the total,16.8% requested a post encounter doctor visit (in person/video), 55% declined the additional encounter and 28.1% did not respond. Written feedback from patients was positive. Hearing impaired patients showed some difficulty with this technology.

Conclusion

Inpatient telemedicine nephrology evaluation using MAs, AR glasses and a DS platform was found to be effective, with excellent clinical utility, patient satisfaction and acceptance.

Funding

  • Private Foundation Support