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BACKGROUND - Early preparation for renal replacement therapy (RRT) is recommended for patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD), yet many patients initiate RRT urgently and/or are inadequately prepared.
METHODS - We conducted audio-recorded, qualitative, directed telephone interviews of nephrology health care providers (n = 10, nephrologists, physician assistants, and nurses) and primary care physicians (PCPs, n = 4) to identify modifiable challenges to optimal RRT preparation to inform future interventions. We recruited providers from public safety-net hospital-based and community-based nephrology and primary care practices. We asked providers open-ended questions to assess their perceived challenges and their views on the role of PCPs and nephrologist-PCP collaboration in patients' RRT preparation. Two independent and trained abstractors coded transcribed audio-recorded interviews and identified major themes.
RESULTS - Nephrology providers identified several factors contributing to patients' suboptimal RRT preparation, including health system resources (e.g., limited time for preparation, referral process delays, and poorly integrated nephrology and primary care), provider skills (e.g., their difficulty explaining CKD to patients), and patient attitudes and cultural differences (e.g., their poor understanding and acceptance of their CKD and its treatment options, their low perceived urgency for RRT preparation; their negative perceptions about RRT, lack of trust, or language differences). PCPs desired more involvement in preparation to ensure RRT transitions could be as "smooth as possible", including providing patients with emotional support, helping patients weigh RRT options, and affirming nephrologist recommendations. Both nephrology providers and PCPs desired improved collaboration, including better information exchange and delineation of roles during the RRT preparation process.
CONCLUSIONS - Nephrology and primary care providers identified health system resources, provider skills, and patient attitudes and cultural differences as challenges to patients' optimal RRT preparation. Interventions to improve these factors may improve patients' preparation and initiation of optimal RRTs.
BACKGROUND - Most non-dialysis dependent chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients are cared for by their primary care physicians (PCPs). Studies suggest many CKD patients receive suboptimal care. Recently, CKD clinical practice guidelines were updated with additional emphasis on albuminuria.
METHODS - We performed an internet-based, cross-sectional survey of active PCPs in the United States using the American Medical Association Physician Masterfile. We explored CKD guideline familiarity, self-reported practice behaviors, and attitudinal and external barriers to implementing guideline recommendations, including albuminuria testing.
RESULTS - Of 12,034 PCPs targeted, 848 opened a study email, 165 (19.5%) responded. Most respondents (88%) spent ≥50% of their time in clinical care. Respondents were generally in private practice (46%). Most PCPs (96%) felt that eGFR values were helpful. Approximately, 75% and 91% of PCPs reported testing for albuminuria in non-diabetic hypertensive patients with an eGFR > 60 ml/min/1.73 m2 and < 60 ml/min/1.73 m2, respectively. Barriers to albuminuria testing included a lack of effect on management, limited time, and the perceived absence of guidelines recommending testing. While PCPs expressed high levels of agreement with the definition of CKD, 30% were concerned with overdiagnosis in older adults with an eGFR in the CKD stage 3a range. Most PCPs felt that angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEi)/ angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) improved outcomes in CKD, though agreement was lower with severe vs. moderate albuminuria (78% vs. 85%, respectively, p = 0.03). Many PCPs (51%) reported being unfamiliar with CKD guidelines, but were receptive to systematic interventions to improve their CKD care.
CONCLUSIONS - PCPs generally agree with CKD clinical practice guidelines regarding CKD definition and albuminuria testing. However, future interventions are necessary to improve PCPs' familiarity with CKD guidelines, overcome barriers to albuminuria testing and, assist PCPs in targeting ACEi/ARBs to the patients most likely to benefit.
Numerous forecasts have predicted shortages of primary care providers, particularly in light of an expected increase in patient demand resulting from the Affordable Care Act. Yet these forecasts could be inaccurate because they generally do not allow for changes in the way primary care is delivered. We analyzed the impact of two emerging models of care--the patient-centered medical home and the nurse-managed health center--both of which use a provider mix that is richer in nurse practitioners and physician assistants than today's predominant models of care delivery. We found that projected physician shortages were substantially reduced in plausible scenarios that envisioned greater reliance on these new models, even without increases in the supply of physicians. Some less plausible scenarios even eliminated the shortage. All of these scenarios, however, may require additional changes, such as liberalized scope-of-practice laws; a larger supply of medical assistants, licensed practical nurses, and aides; and payment changes that reward providers for population health management.
BACKGROUND - Primary care physicians (PCPs) care for most non-dialysis-dependent patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Studies suggest that PCPs may deliver suboptimal CKD care. One means to improve PCP treatment of CKD is clinical decision support systems (CDSSs).
STUDY DESIGN - Cluster-randomized controlled trial.
SETTING & PARTICIPANTS - 30 PCPs in a university-based outpatient general internal medicine practice and their 248 patients with moderate to advanced CKD who had not been referred to a nephrologist.
INTERVENTION - 2 CKD educational sessions were held for PCPs in both arms. The 15 intervention-arm PCPs also received real-time automated electronic medical record alerts for patients with estimated glomerular filtration rates <45 mL/min/1.73 m(2) recommending renal referral and urine albumin quantification if not done within the prior year.
OUTCOMES - Primary outcome was referral to a nephrologist; secondary outcomes were albuminuria/proteinuria assessment, CKD documentation, optimal blood pressure (ie, <130/80 mm Hg), and use of renoprotective medications.
RESULTS - The intervention and control arms did not differ in renal referrals (9.7% vs 16.5%, respectively; between-group difference, -6.8%; 95% CI, -15.5% to 1.8%; P = 0.1) or proteinuria assessments (39.3% vs 30.1%, respectively; between-group difference, 9.2%; 95% CI, -2.7% to 21.1%; P = 0.1). For intervention and control patients without a baseline proteinuria assessment, 27.7% versus 16.3%, respectively, had one at follow-up (P = 0.06). After controlling for clustering, these findings were largely unchanged and no significant differences were apparent between groups.
LIMITATIONS - Small single-center university-based practice, use of a passive CDSS that required PCPs to trigger the electronic order set.
CONCLUSIONS - PCPs were willing to partake in a randomized trial of a CDSS to improve outpatient CKD care. Although CDSSs may have potential, larger studies are needed to further explore how best to deploy them to enhance CKD care.
Copyright © 2011 National Kidney Foundation, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a common disorder associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Primary care physicians (PCPs) care for the majority of pre-dialysis CKD patients; however, PCPs often do not recognize the presence of CKD based on serum creatinine levels. Prior studies suggest that PCPs and nephrologists deliver suboptimal CKD care. One strategy to improve disease awareness and treatment is estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) reporting. We examined PCP and nephrologist CKD practices before and after routine eGFR reporting.
METHODS - We conducted a retrospective cohort study of patients with CKD 3b-4 (eGFR < 45) seen at a university-based, outpatient primary care clinic. Using a chi-square or Fisher's exact test, we compared co-management rates, renal protective strategies, CKD documentation, and laboratory processes of care in 274 patients and 266 patients seen in a 6-month period prior to and following eGFR implementation, respectively.
RESULTS - CKD co-management increased from 22.6% pre-eGFR to 48.5% post-eGFR (P < 0.0001). eGFR reporting did not improve angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blocker use or quantitative urinary testing. However, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug avoidance (pre-eGFR 81.8% vs. post- eGFR 90.6%, P = 0.003) and phosphorus and parathyroid hormone testing improved (pre-eGFR vs. post-eGFR: 32.5% vs. 51.5%, P < 0.0001; 12.4% vs. 36.1%, P < 0.0001 respectively).
CONCLUSIONS - A marked increase in CKD co-management was observed following eGFR implementation. Although some improvements in processes of care were noted, this did not include angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blocker use. Overall care remained suboptimal despite eGFR reporting; further strategies are needed to improve PCP and nephrologist CKD care.
BACKGROUND - Past work suggests that the degree of similarity between patient and physician attitudes may be an important predictor of patient-centered outcomes.
OBJECTIVE - To examine the extent to which patient and provider symmetry in health locus of control (HLOC) beliefs was associated with objectively derived medication refill adherence in patients with co-morbid diabetes mellitus (DM) and hypertension (HTN).
PARTICIPANTS - Eighteen primary care physicians at the VA Iowa City Medical Center and affiliated clinics; 246 patients of consented providers with co-morbid DM and HTN.
DESIGN - Established patient-physician dyads were classified into three groups according to the similarity of their HLOC scores (assessed in parallel). Data analysis utilized hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) to account for clustering of patients within physicians.
MAIN MEASURES - Objectively derived medication refill adherence was computed using data from the VA electronic pharmacy record; blood pressure and HgA1c values were considered as secondary outcomes.
KEY RESULTS - Physician-patient dyads holding highly similar beliefs regarding the degree of personal control that individual patients have over health outcomes showed significantly higher overall and cardiovascular medication regimen adherence (p = 0.03) and lower diastolic blood pressure (p = 0.02) than in dyads in which the patient held a stronger belief in their own personal control than did their treating physician. Dyads in which patients held a weaker belief in their own personal control than did their treating physician did not differ significantly from symmetrical dyads. The same pattern was observed after adjustment for age, physician sex, and physician years of practice.
CONCLUSIONS - These data are the first to demonstrate the importance of attitudinal symmetry on an objective measure of medication adherence and suggest that a brief assessment of patient HLOC may be useful for tailoring the provider's approach in the clinical encounter or for matching patients to physicians with similar attitudes towards care.