Validating laboratory defined chronic kidney disease in the electronic health record for patients in primary care

BMC Nephrol. 2019 Jan 3;20(1):3. doi: 10.1186/s12882-018-1156-2.


Background: Electronic health record (EHR) data is increasingly used to identify patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). EHR queries used to capture CKD status, identify comorbid conditions, measure awareness by providers, and track adherence to guideline-concordant processes of care have not been validated.

Methods: We extracted EHR data for primary-care patients with two eGFRcreat 15-59 mL/min/1.73 m^2 at least 90 days apart. Two nephrologists manually reviewed a random sample of 50 charts to determine CKD status, associated comorbidities, and physician awareness of CKD. We also assessed the documentation of a CKD diagnosis with guideline-driven care.

Results: Complete data were available on 1767 patients with query-defined CKD of whom 822 (47%) had a CKD diagnosis in their chart. Manual chart review confirmed the CKD diagnosis in 34 or 50 (68%) patients. Agreement between the reviewers and the EHR diagnoses on the presence of comorbidities was good (κ > 0.70, p < 0.05), except for congestive heart failure, (κ = 0.45, p < 0.05). Reviewers felt the providers were aware of CKD in 23 of 34 (68%) of the confirmed CKD cases. A CKD diagnosis was associated with higher odds of guideline-driven care including CKD-specific laboratory tests and prescriptions for statins. After adjustment, CKD diagnosis documentation was not significantly associated with ACE/ARB prescription.

Conclusions: Identifying CKD status by historical eGFRs overestimates disease prevalence. A CKD diagnosis in the patient chart was a reasonable surrogate for provider awareness of disease status, but CKD awareness remains relatively low. CKD in the patient chart was associated with higher rates of albuminuria testing and use of statins, but not use of ACE/ARB.

Keywords: Chronic kidney disease; Electronic health record phenotype; Validation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Electronic Health Records*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Sampling Studies
  • Socioeconomic Factors