IKONA and Lifeliqe Partner to Bring XR Education and Training Solutions to U.S. Kidney Care Market

Bringing online and immersive learning tools to patients and frontline care teams

(EZ Newswire)

NEW YORK, NY -- IKONA, a New-York-based, patient-focused learning company, and Lifeliqe, a San Francisco-based workforce training and simulation company, have announced a partnership to bring virtual reality (VR) and online learning solutions to the US kidney care market. This collaboration is in response to market demand from healthcare provider organizations and strategic partners across the care delivery ecosystem for more effective educational tools in the management of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage kidney disease (ESKD).

This collaboration represents the first of its kind approach to comprehensive, immersive education and training in the kidney care sector. By combining IKONA's expertise in patient education and kidney care with Lifeliqe's advanced workforce training and simulation capabilities, including Patient Care Technician (PCT) training, the partnership is poised to address a broad range of top priorities across healthcare settings, from doctor’s offices and dialysis centers into patients’ homes.

What It’s About

The partnership will initially focus on deploying select elements of Lifeliqe's VR and online learning solutions to meet the needs of IKONA’s end users, tailored specifically for high-priority use cases such as cannulation training for patients and frontline dialysis staff. This strategic approach allows both companies to quickly address immediate needs in the market while gathering valuable feedback to refine and expand their offerings, including areas where critical gaps exist across multiple stakeholders such as vascular access, machine use and safety.

As this partnership unfolds, IKONA and Lifeliqe are excited to contribute to the transformation of kidney care education and training, leveraging the power of XR to create more engaging, effective, and accessible learning experiences.

”This is an exciting moment for IKONA and our partners who see the power of having effective, accessible learning tools available for their patients and care teams. This partnership with Lifeliqe arrives at a critical time in our industry, as we explore new ways to support high-quality care delivery in clinics and homes. Lifeliqe is a best in class workforce training platform, we're confident they will play a vital role in helping us reshape kidney care in the US and beyond,” said Tim Fitzpatrick, CEO of IKONA.

"We are thrilled to announce our partnership with IKONA, a leader in the healthcare education field, known for their extensive collaborations with patients, clinics, and other kidney care stakeholders. This partnership marks a pivotal moment where cutting-edge simulation technology meets exceptional instructional design and market understanding. Our combined expertise ensures that our products are not only technically advanced but also perfectly tailored to the needs of potential customers who have been facing these training challenges for years." added Matouš Tlapák, CEO of Lifeliqe.

Why It Matters For Kidney Care

This partnership aims to address key barriers in kidney care’s ongoing shift to value-based and in-home care delivery. Despite early progress following several regulatory and payment tailwinds in recent years, adoption of home-based therapies remains well below national goals and international peers. A lack of access to effective, scalable education and training solutions continues to stand in the way of this effort. 

An all-in-one learning platform opens up several near-term opportunities to tackle some of kidney care’s toughest challenge from staff training to home adoption and retention:

  • More Patients are Facing Kidney Failure: Around 360 people start dialysis every 24 hours in the United States. Over 130,000 people reach kidney failure each year in the US alone, with the vast majority transitioning from hospitals to one of 7,638 dialysis centers across the country.
  • Patient Fears of Self-Cannulation: Many patients express apprehension about self-cannulation, an essential step in home hemodialysis (HHD). A study of people on dialysis found that 47% said needle phobia kept them from doing self-care treatments.
  • Low Uptake of Home Hemodialysis: Despite its benefits, less than 2% of patients are on home hemodialysis (HHD) today due to barriers including cannulation fears and lack of adequate training.
  • Dialysis staffing challenges: Patient Care Technicians (PCTs) are a critical part of the dialysis care team and patient safety. Staffing challenges continue to put pressure on recruitment, training and retention of PCTs in the dialysis workforce. In a recent survey, only half of PCTs reported that they plan to be working as a dialysis PCT in 3 years. 
  • Training Gaps in Home Modalities: A limited number of training sessions available for home dialysis modalities contributes to patient uncertainty and low retention. Home HD training represents a substantial investment in time for patients and providers. It takes around 30 hours of in-person training to train one home patient, which is constrained by staffing, scheduling, transportation and logistical needs.
  • Patient Transition and Retention Challenges: Data indicate notable failure rates for patients transitioning to home hemodialysis, with a significant percentage discontinuing treatment within the first year. The percentage of patients on home HD at one year was substantially lower among patients who attended 10 or fewer sessions (31-35%) compared to those with 11 or more. The percentage on PD at one year was lowest for those who attended 1-3 sessions (48%).

By focusing on these critical areas, IKONA and Lifeliqe are committed to transforming kidney care education, empowering patients and professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate and succeed across kidney care settings, scenarios and machines.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chronic Kidney Disease in the United States, 2023.
  2. U.S. Renal Data System, USRDS 2023 Annual Data Report
  3. Plantinga LC, Bender AA, Urbanski M, et al. Patient Care Technician Staffing and Outcomes Among US Patients Receiving In-Center Hemodialysis. JAMA Netw Open. 2024;7(3):e241722. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2024.1722
  4. Plantinga LC, Rickenbach F, et al. Professional Fulfillment, Burnout, and Turnover Intention Among US Dialysis Patient Care Technicians: A National Survey. AJKD Vol 82, Issue 1, 22 - 32.e1. 2023
  5. Fitzpatrick T, Butt Q, Maddox T. Enhancing Home Dialysis Training and Retention through Interactive Virtual Reality. Nephrol Nurs J. 2023
  6. Fresenius Medical Care North America, IKONA Health Receive Major Grant to Expand Virtual Reality Healthcare Education, Improve Access in Rural Mississippi (PR Newswire - January, 2023)


IKONA, Inc. is a learning platform trusted by over 250 clinics to improve outcomes for people with end stage kidney disease (ESKD) using virtual reality and analytics. The company's expert team of clinicians, patients, scientists, and technologists are building a pipeline of evidence-based learning products across complex chronic areas, including End Stage Kidney Disease (ESKD), Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), Transplantation, Diabetes and more. IKONA is funded by the National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, StartUp Health, On Deck, NVIDIA and was named a Top 200 EdTech Startup globally in the 2022 and 2023 GSV Cups. To learn more about the company's mission to launch 10 million personalized learning journeys by 2030, please visit http://www.ikona.health.

About Lifeliqe

Lifeliqe is the world’s leading workforce development and education tool for learning experiences in interactive 3D, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR). Following its merger with 3D content publisher Corinth in 2023, the company is setting a new global standard for upskilling, reskilling, and workforce training across classrooms and clinics in more than 100 countries. Lifeliqe has partnered with leading nephrology vocational schools and nonprofits to create and scale dialysis and clinical staff training through a hybrid in-person and VR curriculum. For information about Lifeliqe, visit http://www.lifeliqe.com.

Media Contact


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