Background: The National Kidney Foundation-Dialysis Outcomes Quality Initiative (NKF-DOQI) Clinical Practice Guidelines established a widely accepted set of recommendations for high-quality dialysis care. To enhance the End-Stage Renal Disease Core Indicators Project, an ongoing effort to assess and improve dialysis care in the United States, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) commissioned a project to develop clinical performance measures (CPMs) based on the NKF-DOQI guidelines.
Methods: The CMS contracted with Qualis Health, a private nonprofit organization serving as a Medicare Quality Improvement Organization, to facilitate a 9-month project to develop dialysis CPMs with the participation of a broad range of stakeholders from the renal community. Work groups were established to develop CPMs addressing 4 areas: hemodialysis adequacy, peritoneal dialysis adequacy, vascular access management, and anemia management. The NKF-DOQI guidelines were prioritized based on the strength of the evidence supporting the guidelines, the feasibility of developing performance measures, and the significance of the areas addressed to the quality of care delivered to dialysis patients. Expert panels developed data specifications, sampling approaches, data-collection tools, and analytic strategies.
Results: Sixteen CPMs were developed based on 22 of 114 NKF-DOQI guidelines. After establishing reliability through field-testing of data-collection instruments, the CPMs were applied to a sample of 8,838 randomly selected hemodialysis patients and 1,650 randomly selected adult peritoneal dialysis patients in summer 1999.
Conclusion: The development of CPMs based on the NKF-DOQI Clinical Practice Guidelines for dialysis care was accomplished in a timely and effective manner by engaging a broad range of stakeholders and technical experts. The CPMs are important tools to assess and improve the quality of dialysis care in the United States. Few comparable efforts exist in other fields of medicine.