Barrett TM, Green JA, Greer RC, Ephraim PL, Peskoe S, Pendergast JF, Hauer CL, Strigo TS, Norfolk E, Bucaloiu ID, Diamantidis CJ, Hill-Briggs FF, Browne T, Jackson GL, Boulware LE. Advanced CKD care and decision making: which health care professionals do patients rely on for CKD treatment and advice? Kidney Medicine. 2020 Jun 14.


Rationale & Objective: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) care is often fragmented across multiple health care providers. It is unclear whether patients rely mostly on their nephrologists or nonnephrologist providers for medical care, including CKD treatment and advice.

Study Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting & Participants: Adults receiving nephrology care at CKD clinics in Pennsylvania.

Predictors: Frequency, duration, and patientcenteredness (range, 1 [least] to 4 [most]) of participants’ nephrology care.

Outcome: Participants’ reliance on nephrologists, primary care providers, or other specialists for medical care, including CKD treatment and advice.

Analytical Approach: Multivariable logistic regression to quantify associations between participants’ reliance on their nephrologists (vs other providers) and their demographics, comorbid conditions, kidney function, and nephrology care.

Results: Among 1,412 patients in clinics targeted for the study, 676 (48%) participated. Among these, 453 (67%) were eligible for this analysis. Mean age was 71 (SD, 12) years, 59% were women, 97% were white, and 65% were retired. Participants were in nephrology care for a median of 3.8 (IQR, 2.0-6.6) years and completed a median of 4 (IQR, 3-5) nephrology appointments in the past 2 years. Half (56%) the participants relied primarily on their nephrologists, while 23% relied on primary care providers, 18% relied on all providers equally, and 3% relied on other specialists. Participants’ adjusted odds of relying on their nephrologists were higher for those in nephrology care for longer (OR, 1.08 [95% CI, 1.02-1.15]; P = 0.02), those who completed more nephrology visits in the previous 2 years (OR, 1.16 [95% CI, 1.05-1.29]; P = 0.005), and those who perceived their last interaction with their nephrologists as more patient-centered (OR, 2.63 [95% CI, 1.70-4.09]; P < 0.001).

Limitations: Single health system study.

Conclusions: Many nephrology patients relied on non-nephrologist providers for medical care. Longitudinal patient-centered nephrology care may encourage more patients to follow nephrologists’ recommendations.

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