NKF Study Reveals Challenges in Co-Management of Kidney Patients in Primary Care

Communication with nephrologists is key
New York, NY – April 17, 2019The Journal of General Internal Medicine published a new National Kidney Foundation (NKF) study describing key challenges in primary care practitioners (PCPs) and nephrologists working together to care for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD).
The investigators found that primary care providers had difficulty developing working partnerships with nephrologists, because there was not timely information exchanged about their shared patients; their roles and responsibilities were unclear; and primary care providers had limited access to nephrologists for advice.
“Effective co-management of CKD between PCPs and nephrologists is essential for the delivery of efficient and high-quality CKD care,” said Raquel Greer, MD, MHS, the lead investigator. “However, PCPs experience significant challenges in the optimal co-management of their patients with CKD.”
Greer’s co-authors are Yang Liu, MPH; Kerri Cavanaugh, MD, MHS; Clarissa Jonas Diamantidis, MD, MHS;  Michelle M. Estrella, MD, MHS; C. John Sperati, MD, MHS; Sandeep Soman, MD; Khaled Abdel-Kader MD, MS; Varun Agrawal MD;, Laura C. Plantinga, PhD; Jane O. Schell, MD; James F. Simon, MD; Joseph A. Vassalotti, MD; Bernard G. Jaar, MD, MPH; Michael J. Choi, MD.
The authors reported that currently, co-management of patients with CKD remains suboptimal.
“The National Kidney Foundation is proud of this small but important study that demonstrates communication and care coordination barriers between PCPs and nephrologists,” said co-author Dr. Vassalotti and NKF’s Chief Medical Officer.
The investigators offered electronic consultation to facilitate easy access to nephrologist advice; care coordination agreements to clearly define roles and responsibilities; CKD payment reform to incentivize care coordination by clinicians; and other tools to facilitate timely exchange of clinical information, particularly when the primary and specialty clinicians operate on different electronic health record systems.
The investigators concluded that better communication tools and CKD care plans are needed to improve PCP-nephrology collaboration.
NKF Professional Membership
Healthcare professionals can join NKF to receive access to tools and resources for both patients and professionals, discounts on professional education, and access to a network of thousands of individuals who treat patients with kidney disease. 
Kidney Disease Facts
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 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.