Disease management in chronic kidney disease

Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2008 Jan;15(1):19-28. doi: 10.1053/j.ackd.2007.10.011.


Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a growing health problem of epidemic proportions both in the United States and worldwide. The care of CKD patients, before and after starting dialysis, remains highly fragmented resulting in suboptimal clinical outcomes and high costs, creating a high burden of disease on patients and the health care system. Disease management (DM) is an approach to coordinating care for this complex population of patients that has the promise of improving outcomes and constraining costs. For CKD patients not yet on dialysis, the major goals of a DM program are (1) early identification of CKD patients and therapy to slow the progression of CKD, (2) identification and management of the complications of CKD per se, (3) identification and management of the complications of comorbid conditions, and (4) smooth transition to renal replacement therapy. For those CKD patients on dialysis, focused attention on avoidable hospitalizations is a key to a successful DM program. Multidisciplinary collaboration among physicians (nephrologist, primary care physician, cardiologist, endocrinologist, vascular surgeons, and transplant physicians) and participating caregivers (nurse, pharmacist, social worker, and dietician) is critical as well. There are several potential barriers to the successful implementation of a CKD/end-stage renal disease DM program, including lack of awareness of the disease state among patients and health care providers, late identification and referrals to a nephrologist, complex fragmented care delivered by multiple providers in many different sites of care, and reimbursement that does not align incentives for all involved. Recent experience suggests that these barriers can be overcome, with DM becoming a promising approach for improving outcomes for this vulnerable population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Disease Management*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / complications
  • Kidney Diseases / diagnosis
  • Kidney Diseases / therapy*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Medicare
  • Patient Care Team
  • Program Evaluation
  • Renal Replacement Therapy
  • United States