Satellite Healthcare – Four Decades of Putting Patients First

In 1973, patients who needed kidney dialysis were asked to travel long distances to large regional medical centers several times a week. In addition, patient treatment times were often 10 and 12 hours long, during which they were confined to a hospital bed in a busy, crowded hospital setting.

Dr. Norman Coplon, director of the Renal Care Unit at Stanford Medical Center at the time, was concerned about the toll dialysis treatment took on the quality of life of his patients. He wondered if it was possible to rethink how treatments were delivered. Could he make it more convenient, more comfortable and more personal?

Satellite Established as a Not-for-Profit Organization
Dr. Coplon's answer was Satellite Dialysis, a not-for-profit organization that could truly put patients first. At first, Satellite was just one office tucked behind a service station in San Jose, California. In this tiny space, innovative thinking was moving CKD patient care forward under the leadership of Dr. Coplon and his team.

To begin with, instead of hospital beds, patients were treated sitting up in comfortable chairs, making it easier to read, watch television and pass the time during dialysis. The cozy space had a much more homelike setting. Fewer patients at any given time also meant it was easier for staff to answer questions and share information. Under the guidance of qualified nurses and technicians, patients were also taught to take a more active role in their treatment, monitoring their dialysis and often performing their own needle insertion and other routine tasks.

Demand for patient-centered dialysis grew rapidly and, within a few years, Satellite Dialysis centers opened in other neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to providing dialysis treatment, Satellite's teams of friendly professionals became a touchstone for a number of activities that brought patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) together, including picnics, holiday parties, and even group trips to Hawaii and Alaska.

Broader Focus Guided a Name Change to Satellite Healthcare
In 1999, Satellite Dialysis was renamed Satellite Healthcare to better reflect the wider range of services Satellite offers.

In addition to more than 50 Satellite Dialysis treatment centers in five states, Satellite provides expert home dialysis training and support through Satellite WellBound.  With more than 20 WellBound centers, Satellite offers CKD patients even more treatment choices and convenience. In addition, WellBound's wellness classes are helping educate and empower pre-dialysis patients and their families on topics that can help them lead longer, healthier lives.

Satellite also offers laboratory services through Ascend Clinical Services , nurtures the advancement of CKD treatment through Satellite Research, and supports CKD patients and causes through Satellite Philanthropy.

A Lasting Legacy of Putting Patients First
Many things have changed since Dr. Coplon opened the doors at the first Satellite Dialysis center in 1973. At Satellite Healthcare, however, one thing remains constant, a commitment to improving the lives of patients living with CKD.

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I recall what a startling epiphany the concept of learning how to manage my own dialysis treatment was‚ and how it gave me back so much of the control over my life.”
– Patient