Renal Physicians and NIH Release Web Tool to Coordinate Care for Kidney Patients
Bethesda, Maryland The Renal Physicians Association
(RPA) and the National Kidney Disease Education Program (NKDEP)
announced today the availability of a Nephrology Consult Letter
Template, a new web-based tool to improve coordination of care
for kidney patients.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affecting approximately 20 million
Americans has reached epidemic proportions, and the number of people
in the United States who go on to develop kidney failure has doubled
each of the last two decades. This trend is likely to continue,
leaving nephrologists with too many patients to manage alone.
Anticipating the shortage, nephrologists are turning to primary
care providers (PCPs) for help. PCPs make logical partners since
they usually are the first to see kidney patients. But agreeing
early-on about who will handle what aspects of care will be critical
to establishing and maintaining good partnerships and providing
high-quality care to patients.
"Collaborations between primary care providers and nephrologists
can result in improved care of the CKD patient and improved outcomes,"
said RPA President Jim Weiss, M.D., a nephrologist in private practice
in Pittsburgh. "We hope the Consult Letter will help
physicians communicate preferences and expectations more clearly
and avoid assumptions that could lead to duplications or omissions
of services for patients," Weiss said.
Check boxes, drop down menus and fill-in-the-blanks let nephrologists
quickly tailor the Consult Letter to an individual patient,
reflecting the type and stage of kidney disease and which aspects
of care and testing will be managed by each doctor. The Consult
Letter also automatically calculates GFR, or glomerular filtration
rate, an important measure of kidney function. The letter can be
saved, emailed and printed on office stationery. Content is largely
based on the National Kidney Foundation's KDOQI guidelines and RPA's
guideline, Appropriate Patient Preparation for Renal Replacement
"NKDEP has been working to increase awareness through community-based
outreach programs targeting people most likely to develop kidney
disease. This important project with RPA has given us an extraordinary
opportunity to approach our goals from a very different path,"
said Thomas H. Hostetter, M.D., director of NKDEP. "We are
increasingly asked to do more in less time. Any system-wide changes
we can make to streamline administrative processes and improve communication
are going to translate into more time for our patients and better
The Nephrology Consult Letter Template is on both the RPA
and NKDEP websites at www.renalmd.org
and www.nkdep.nih.gov, respectively.
About the Renal Physicians Association
Founded in 1973, RPA supports the efforts of nephrologists, practice
managers, advanced practice nurses, and physician assistants who
are committed to providing quality health care for people with kidney
disease and related disorders.
About the National Kidney Disease Education Program
NKDEP is dedicated to raising awareness about the seriousness of
kidney disease and steps that can be taken to protect the kidneys
and prevent kidney failure. The program is an initiative of the
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases,
part of the National Institutes of Health of the U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services.