Digital dialysis tool wins award for Fresenius

Fresenius Medical Care

A data analysis tool developed by Fresenius Medical Care that can be used to predict if patients on dialysis will develop a serious and potentially life-threatening complication has won a prestigious CIO 100 Award.

The tool is designed to spot signs of intradialytic hypotension (IDH), a sudden decrease in blood pressure that can cause severe discomfort and distress, accelerate kidney damage and, in extreme cases, cause cardiovascular events and death. The complication is estimated to occur in around 10% of treatments.

Fresenius is a major dialysis supplier, and its Renal Research Institute (RRI) and Digital Technology & Innovation (DTI) team banded together to develop the early warning system based on predictive analytics.

It relies on a secure pipeline that collects real-time data from dialysis machines and medical sensors throughout the US – gathering readings every few seconds and collecting the data in the cloud. Tens of thousands of dialysis sessions from hundreds of patients were used to train a machine learning algorithm to identify patients at risk of IDH.

Patients get a prediction score every 30 minutes that indicates whether they are at risk of IDH in the next 15–75 minutes. Using the tool allows clinicians to intervene earlier, preventing IDH from taking hold with treatment plans tailored to each individual patients – the first time that proactive treatment has been feasible.

The expectation is that this will reduce morbidity and mortality associated with IDH, although further studies will be needed to demonstrate that conclusively.

The annual CIO 100 Awards celebrate 100 organisations and the teams within them that are using IT in innovative ways, and this year’s winners – across a broad spectrum of industries – were celebrated for projects in artificial intelligence, quantum computing, facial recognition, data analytics, and more.

Franklin Maddux, chief medical officer of Fresenius Medicare Care, said the award is “a true example of partnership, collaboration, and teamwork, and we are proud that our commitment to bring it to the next level of these exciting technologies will result in a better care experience for our patients and, most importantly, improve quality of life and patient outcomes.”

Fresenius Medical Care runs an international network of thousands of dialysis centres, providing care to around 345,000 patients worldwide, as well as dialysis equipment and consumables, and is part of the sprawling Fresenius group that includes a pharma subsidiary focused on kidney disease, in addition to facility management and private hospital units.