Morbidity and mortality associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD) is higher than that of the normal population, and the incidence of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) continues to increase. Several factors contribute to the uncoordinated and suboptimal management of CKD, including the attitude and behaviour of nephrologists, referring physicians and patients, and economic constraints on healthcare systems. Late referral of at-risk patients to specialist care is an area of particular concern, as this denies nephrologists adequate opportunity to prevent progression of CKD and associated complications such as anaemia. Due to the ageing population and advances in technology, the costs of treating CKD and ESRD continue to escalate and represent another barrier to the delivery of optimal care. Optimizing the care provided to CKD patients requires a coordinated approach to the management of the condition. Closer collaboration and improved communication across specialities is important for the timely referral of patients and for efficient utilization of available resources. A multidisciplinary approach may facilitate patient identification and improve the management of CKD.