Posted: April 1, 2016

Advancing exceptional care at Grand River Hospital is constant work. GRH’s regional renal (kidney) and pharmacy programs have made great progress in providing better medication care at a lower cost.

There are currently more than 1,500 patients receiving kidney care at Grand River Hospital. GRH’s renal program has an annual budget of $26 million every year to support life-sustaining care such as dialysis, which cleans waste products from a patient’s blood.

Dr Liu And Dr Rosenstein
GRH nephrologists Dr. Tom Liu and Dr. Gerald Rosenstein

“When kidneys fail, patients need a number of sophisticated treatments to sustain them until they can receive a transplant,” explains Dr. Tom Liu, the founder of GRH’s dialysis unit and a doctor specializing in kidney care. “We’ve spent the past ten years paying close attention to medications that patients receive, helping to reduce usage that doesn’t necessarily improve care.”

In 2005, GRH’s renal and pharmacy departments came together to build a medication tracking system. This has helped better review dosages, standardize medications and make changes as required. Since its inception, the technology is estimated to have saved $1 million that has been re-directed back into patient care.

“The gains keep coming,” adds Dr. Liu. “Recently, we used the system to look at how we were providing parenteral magnesium to supplement patients’ needs. Using that data and new research indicating we could reduce those supplements, we’ve cut our magnesium use by half with no adverse effect to patients. That change could save a further $20,000 to $40,000 a year.”

“Good health care is about people working together. We’re fortunate at GRH to not only have a terrific renal program, but also a dedicated group of pharmacists always looking for new and better ways to support patients. Dealing with kidney disease is all consuming for patients, and we want to do everything we can to support their health and quality of life,” said Dr. Gerald Rosenstein, chief of nephrology at GRH.

GRH’s renal and pharmacy programs will keep working together to apply best practices in medication to support patients with kidney disease.