New York, NY, October 5, 2018 – Thirty million Americans are affected by chronic kidney disease (CKD), many of whom remain unaware and undiagnosed, yet most people with high risk do not receive the recommended testing that could alert clinicians to the underlying kidney problem.
Even people in high risk CKD categories, like those with diabetes and hypertension, are not getting a simple test – the urinary albumin-creatinine ratio test – that can detect the disease. The National Kidney Foundation hopes to change the statistics, increase early recognition of the disease and promote patient awareness with the Laboratory Engagement Plan that lays out actions each laboratory can take to remove barriers to CKD assessment in primary care.
NKF’s Chief Medical Officer Joseph Vassalotti, MD, will join Lee H. Hilborne, MD, MPH, FASCP, Medical Director of Quest Diagnostics, and others in a panel discussion about the Laboratory Engagement Plan and breaking down the barriers in CKD assessment and test interpretation on Oct. 5, 2018, at the American Society for Clinical Pathology Annual Meeting in Baltimore, MD.
Drs. Vassalotti, Hilborne, Dan Winn, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, Kevin Schendel of Beltway Internal Medicine and kidney transplant recipient Anthony Reed will gather during a Friday afternoon session called “Using the Clinical Laboratory to Promote Chronic Kidney Disease Population Health.”
“CKD is a major public health problem that results in poor health outcomes for Americans and costs the nation billions in healthcare expenses each year,” Dr. Vassalotti said. “Early recognition and evidence-based management can slow CKD progression, reduce costs and most importantly, improve lives. Removing barriers to CKD testing makes it simpler to include routine assessment of CKD for those at-risk in a population health model for primary care.”
The new “Kidney Profile” rolled out earlier this year follows evidence-based clinical practice guidelines, which recommend two tests for CKD assessment. Laboratories adopting the “Kidney Profile” will simply order together under one heading on the laboratory requisition form or electronic health record order the kidney function test - the estimated GFR or glomerular filtration rate and the kidney damage test, called the albumin-creatinine ratio.
While current clinical practice guidelines for CKD assessment recommend that adults with diabetes and/or hypertension be tested at least annually for albuminuria, there is still underutilization for people at the greatest risk. Less than 10 percent of those with hypertension and less than 40 percent of those with diabetes are appropriately assessed.
By bringing together laboratory professionals, managers and directors, clinical pathologists and clinical scientists at the conference, the team plans to discuss the clinical and cost implications of timely recognition of CKD and address what the clinical laboratories can do to promote recommended testing and detection of CKD among risk groups.
Also, at the annual ASCP meeting, on Thursday Oct. 4, 2018, Dr. Hilborne announced the inclusion of the Kidney Profile in the Choosing Wisely recommendations of the society. Choosing Wisely is an initiative of the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation that seeks to advance a national dialogue on avoiding unnecessary medical tests, treatments and procedures. Find more details here.
About Kidney Disease
In the United States, 30 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease—and most aren’t aware of it. 1 in 3 American adults are at risk for chronic kidney disease. Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and family history. People of African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. African Americans are 3 times more likely than Whites, and Hispanics are nearly 1.5 times more likely than non-Hispanics to develop end stage renal disease (kidney failure).
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive and longstanding organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease. For more information about the NKF visit www.kidney.org.