Government funding and support play a pivotal role in revolutionizing medical advancements and solutions for patients. According to Forbes, “The federal government, through Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), is the nation’s largest payer and covers millions of Americans. Such a large population of patients brings influence, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) can set expectations for the quality of care and create incentives to encourage innovation that will lower costs.”
For a number of disease states, the government has invested the time and money to bring much needed innovation and improve outcomes. However, despite government support for numerous other medical conditions, the kidney care sector remains relatively overlooked.
A Glimpse into Congresswoman Brittany Pettersen’s Commitment
Luckily, there are a number of elected officials, like Congresswoman Brittany Pettersen, who are committed to supporting innovation in the healthtech space, including in kidney care. On August 22, 2023, she visited the Alio® Colorado office within her district to explore advancements in healthtech, particularly kidney care. This visit shed light on the challenges faced by dialysis patients and showcased how Alio’s revolutionary technology can alleviate their struggles.
Easing the Burden of Dialysis: Alio’s SmartPatch Solution
A key takeaway for Congresswoman Pettersen was the burdensome nature of current dialysis procedures. Most patients have to visit their dialysis clinic multiple times a week, with treatments lasting several hours each time. Additionally, patients must go in for blood draws one to two times a month to test key metrics such as potassium and hemoglobin. This is particularly challenging for patients residing in remote areas, and the infrequency of monitoring and distance from a hospital often results in complications.
However, as presented to the Congresswoman, the Alio SmartPatch painlessly takes readings of these important clinical levels every few hours and gives clinicians real-time notifications, allowing for timely interventions and reduction in hospitalizations.
The Current Cost of Kidney Care
The current state of kidney care isn’t only affecting those with End Stage Kidney Disease (ESKD) – it’s also impacting taxpayers. That’s why Congresswoman Pettersen’s visit delved into the economic aspect of kidney care, spotlighting the avoidable hospitalization expenses linked to lack of continuous monitoring. Specifically, Medicare spends $72 billion on dialysis patients, $14 billion of which is spent on hospitalizations.
Conversely, continuous 24/7 monitoring could offer substantial savings. The discussion with Congresswoman Pettersen highlighted that this proactive approach could prevent costly and avoidable hospitalizations, with a potential cost savings of up to $45,000 per patient per year.
The Importance of Alio’s FDA Approval
Lastly, when discussing what’s on the horizon, Alio’s FDA clearance was a key topic during Congresswoman Pettersen’s visit.
In March 2023, Alio earned FDA clearance to monitor critical metrics such as hematocrit, hemoglobin, and potassium (and it is the first wearable with this capability). In 2022, the wearable received clearance for tracking skin temperature, auscultation, and heart rate. This recent FDA clearance empowers Alio’s technology for commercial use, bridging the care gap by enhancing clinician-patient connectivity and reducing the need for frequent clinical visits.
As Alio proudly operates within Congresswoman Pettersen’s district, we anticipate her championing a future brimming with innovative healthcare solutions. Between her support and our work with the Colorado Bioscience Association and the Medical Device Manufacturers Association (MDMA), the future of reshaping kidney care and paving the way for improved patient outcomes is bright.