The role of the dialysis unit Medical Director has evolved over time to an expanded set of roles from one that used to be strictly "medical" to one that is more "managerial." Physicians providing these Medical Director services are facing increasing demands for a leadership role regarding clinical quality improvement and measurement of performance in core areas of care within the dialysis program. The dialysis Medical Director is asked to lead in group decision-making, in analyzing core process and patient outcomes and in stimulating a team approach to Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) and patient safety. For the end-stage renal disease program, national quality expectations in dialysis care have stimulated the dialysis providers to measure, report and respond consistently in an effort to provide a higher level of cost-efficient care. Medical Directors are usually contractually linked to the dialysis programs for which they provide oversight and their contracts are explicit about the relationship they maintain and the role they are expected to play within dialysis companies (often called "provider organizations"). The evolution of the Medical Director role has led to a close relationship between the company that provides the dialysis services and the physician providing the medical oversight.