Telenephrology and on-site nephrology: Comparable adequate dialysis care to patients living in remote Pacific Islands

J Telemed Telecare. 2020 Jan 7;1357633X19896680. doi: 10.1177/1357633X19896680. Online ahead of print.


Introduction: End-stage renal disease is a major public health concern in New Caledonia and in Wallis and Futuna (prevalence value: 2542 per million population in 2017). Spread over the territory, 594 dialysis patients are followed up by nephrologists and partially by telemedicine due to the distance. The aim of our this study was to evaluate the quality of care provided by telemedicine for chronic dialysis patients on Wallis Island, a dialysis unit remote from Noumea (2100 km).

Methods: We compared two populations of haemodialysis patients, one based in Poindimie in New Caledonia and followed by monthly physical consultation, the other based on Wallis Island and followed by monthly teleconsultation and quarterly on-site consultation.

Results: From January 2012-December 2017, dialysis adequacy and survival data were recorded for 84 patients: 44 in Poindimie, 40 on Wallis Island. Dialysis adequacy (i.e. clinical, biological parameters) as well as occurrence of vascular access complications were no different regardless of the means of follow-up. During the study, 23 deaths occurred (11 in Poindimie, 12 on Wallis Island; p = 0.464). We did not find any difference in survival at one and six years (p = 0.46) between the two dialysis units. Evaluation for transplantation was lower for Wallisian patients (p = 0.042), without impact on the number of patients being transplanted (p = 0.678).

Conclusion: Telemedicine is a valuable opportunity for the follow-up of remote chronic haemodialysis patients, allowing them to be treated close to home while ensuring optimal quality of care.

Keywords: Telemedicine; dialysis adequacy; remote consultation; telenephrology.