Accelerating innovations in kidney disease to improve health equity and outcomes

A healthcare professional shows a patient something on a tablet screen.

Jesse Roach, MD, Senior Medical Director, Health Equity at CVS Kidney Care®

Treatment options for the more than 37 million Americans living with chronic kidney disease (CKD)https://www.cdc.gov/kidneydisease/publications-resources/ckd-national-facts.html have not changed in decades, and innovation in our industry has failed to keep up with the burden this has placed on patients and society. This burden is disproportionately felt by Black, Hispanic and other historically disadvantaged communities struggling with kidney disease.

We have both an obligation and an opportunity to close this gap. By innovating and improving access to high-quality care, we can, in turn, improve health outcomes that for too long have remained stagnant in our current treatment paradigm. But to identify solutions that will drive this change, we needed the ideas and insights of those impacted most by kidney disease.

In November 2021, we launched the Lyfebulb-CVS Kidney Care® Innovation Challenge, engaging the kidney community to surface solutions for a healthier future. Today, during National Kidney Month, we are excited to introduce our 10 finalists. This inspirational group of entrepreneurs brings a range of strategic, creative and scalable concepts to make kidney care more understandable, accessible and equitable. Each of the following companies brings a unique point of view on how we can reimagine kidney health:

Aidar Health is a health-technology and digital-medicine company with the mission to enhance the quality of life for patients with chronic conditions, as well as enable positive health outcomes.

The C. Alan Foundation’s goal is to identify, educate and assist those affected by kidney disease. The program offers people access to counseling, nutrition, education, housing, transportation and additional support.

Clearstep builds technology to make it easy for people to access the most useful and clear next steps for care. It also enables health systems to use its AI-chat based Smart Care RoutingTM technology to guide patients through their lifelong journeys in health care.

Kindness for Kidneys International is a nonprofit health organization dedicated to raising awareness and public-health education for kidney disease. Its mission is to educate, encourage and empower kidney warriors and their families.

Mozzaz is a digital health-technology company that delivers an integrated virtual-care platform. Its comprehensive virtual-care solutions utilize predictive analytics, remote patient monitoring, and omni-channel patient engagement to improve outcomes, drive positive patient behavior, and close care gaps.

Nephra is an early-stage med-tech start-up that is developing predictive, non-invasive electrolyte-monitoring software that can be utilized to alert dialysis patients and their physicians about abnormal electrolyte values so that emergency dialysis sessions or appropriate medication intervention can be initiated - before it’s too late.

NephroSant is a biotechnology company that delivers pioneering diagnostic tools designed to improve global kidney health. NephroSant is developing a portfolio of innovative point-of-care tests in urine, enabling clinicians to accurately measure kidney health, which allows the identification of injury and disease earlier than currently possible.

OmniLife is a health IT and certified Benefit Corp that believes no one should die waiting for an organ. OmniLife helps transplant hospitals and providers streamline organ intake and patient-care management by bringing all communications, clinical processes, external partners, and integrations into one end-to-end integrated communication and care-coordination platform.

Relavo is changing the way that kidney-failure patients receive dialysis by making home care safer and more accessible through innovative solutions addressing infection risks.

Yumlish is creating an AI-powered, cultural nutritional-therapy solution for patients with diabetes that addresses socioeconomic and behavioral barriers to dietary adherence.

We look forward to hearing from the finalists on how we can improve kidney health for all those living with kidney disease. By working together, we can change the course of our industry, building a better, healthier future. We encourage all those interested in the challenge to follow our finalists as they present their solutions in Austin, Texas on May 19, 2022.