Nephrologists' perspectives on ambulatory care of patients with non-dialysis chronic kidney disease - A qualitative study

Health Soc Care Community. 2019 Jul;27(4):e438-e448. doi: 10.1111/hsc.12744. Epub 2019 Apr 4.


Little is known on the perspectives of nephrologists on managing non-dialysis patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the experiences and perspectives of nephrologists regarding the interface with general practitioners (GP) and GPs' management of patients with non-dialysis CKD, so that barriers to cooperation and need for improved management can be identified. Twenty semi-structured interviews were conducted for this qualitative study. The interviews were audio-recorded and coded to be analysed. The concept of knowledge systems served as a sensitising concept. Optimising underlying diseases, medication adaptation and patient awareness of CKD were regarded as the most important treatment measures in CKD management. Differing views exist on who should be responsible for lifestyle interventions, patient education and timing of referral. Nephrologists generally preferred the referral of patients with high progression risk and co-treatment models in which daily care was performed by GP, but some preferred referral of all patients with early CKD and some nephrologists stated that patient care should be in the hands of nephrologists entirely in case of CKD. Doctor-patient communication predominantly remained within the medical-scientific knowledge system whereas patients' everyday knowledge systems were rarely considered. While stressing optimisation of laboratory values, diabetes and hypertension, patients' perspectives and shared decision-making to identify and prioritise patients' individual health goals were rarely considered by nephrologists. Instead, most nephrologists regarded educating patients and GPs as an important part of their professional role. Defining the interface between GPs and nephrologists, with specific recommendations on when to refer and which tasks each professional group should perform can lead to standardisation and improved interdisciplinary management of CKD patients. Addressing patients' everyday knowledge systems can be valuable in formulating and prioritising health goals with patients.

Keywords: chronic kidney disease; interdisciplinary care; nephrology care; primary secondary care interface; qualitative study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Female
  • General Practitioners
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nephrologists*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Qualitative Research
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic*