NKF Leads Reexamination of Quality Measures in Dialysis Care

Dialysis Center

Patient-Centered Quality Measures for Dialysis Care Workshop Held

September 27, 2022, Washington, DC — The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) and the Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (KDOQI) held a Scientific Workshop on Patient-Centered Quality Measures for Dialysis Care. In 2012, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched the ESRD Quality Incentive Program (QIP) to improve care for people dependent on dialysis. Quality measures currently used in dialysis care emphasize laboratory test results and outcomes related to utilization. As this system and other related quality systems mature, it is important to ensure that quality measures are patient-centered in order to motivate the best possible care for people dependent on dialysis, while preserving individual patient choice and emphasizing factors that are most important to their wellbeing. Developing, implementing, and maintaining a quality program that incorporates readily quantifiable data while also allowing for individualization of care targets that emphasize the goals of patients and their care partners is extremely challenging and provides the motivation for this workshop. 

To address this important topic, NKF-KDOQI assembled key stakeholders—health care professionals, dialysis providers, patients engaged with all modalities of kidney failure treatment, care partners, regulatory officials, and device and pharmaceutical manufacturers—to assess the Quality Incentive Program and other quality assessment programs in dialysis and consider how they can be improved. The discussion and conclusions from the conference will be summarized in a white paper published in a peer-reviewed journal and will also be the basis for professional education and policy activities by the National Kidney Foundation.

The workshop, held in Washington, D.C., was chaired by Drs. Jeffrey Berns and Daniel Weiner. 

“The overarching goal of this meeting, and I think for the entire kidney community, is to have a quality system in place that incentivizes the right care for the right patient at the right time.” Said Daniel Weiner, workshop co-Chair. “This is a challenge that is important for us to undertake, and we are thrilled to have such diverse engagement from the entire kidney community as we strive to align quality assessment with patient-centered goals.”

The deliberations focused on four areas: 1) what are the outcomes that are most important to patients and their carepartners, 2) how can social determinants of health be accounted for in quality measures, 3) how can a quality program balance individualized care with population level quality measures, and 4) what are the optimal means to collect valid and robust patient reported outcome data?

“The passion we saw and heard from all the participants, but especially the patients, was truly inspiring. The workshop discussions highlighted the need for not only better quality measures, but better education of the whole health care team on how to support patients in making the best choices in kidney replacement therapy,” said Kerry Willis PhD, NKF Chief Scientific Officer. “NKF is already working on a strategy to implement the recommendations we heard this week.”  

The following companies provided grants to the National Kidney Foundation to support this initiative on Patient-Centered Quality Measures for Dialysis Care: CSL Vifor, CVS Kidney Care, Evergreen Nephrology, and Outset Medical.

About National Kidney Foundation

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive, and longstanding patient-centric organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease in the U.S. For more information about NKF, visit www.kidney.org