Lisa Rometty, President, CVS Kidney Care
Every March, we join the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) in recognizing Kidney Month and World Kidney Day to raise awareness of the challenges facing millions of people living with or at risk for chronic kidney disease.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chronic Kidney Disease Initiative, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/kidneydisease/basics.html#:~:text=About%2037%20million%20US%20adults,aware%20of%20even%20having%20CKD This year, we’re turning awareness into action by investing in numerous innovations to help make kidney care more accessible, convenient, and affordable.
We need a new paradigm
Widescale availability and access to kidney dialysis marked a landmark public health achievement in the 20th century, transforming a previously fatal condition into a chronic — but manageable — disease. Although we already have saved countless lives, the battle against kidney disease is far from over.
Today, more than 37 million Americans are affected by chronic kidney disease (CKD) — and 700,000 rely on regular dialysis to survive.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chronic Kidney Disease Initiative, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/kidneydisease/basics.html#:~:text=About%2037%20million%20US%20adults,aware%20of%20even%20having%20CKD To manage their condition, these patients must spend multiple hours, several times each week, undergoing dialysis in an external facility. While lifesaving, these center-based dialysis treatments impose substantial burdens on patients and caregivers, who must rearrange their work, school, and social lives around a rigorous schedule. In underserved communities, the challenges of cost, geography, and time are particularly difficult to navigate. And if patients skip treatments, they can suffer harmful side effects that not only burden the health system with high costs, but can even lead to death in the most serious cases.
Given the complexity and inequities of the current system, we need the courage to completely reimagine the CKD treatment paradigm. CKD patients deserve better, more equitable experiences, as well as superior outcomes. It’s high time we made it happen.
At CVS Health, the reinvention is underway
The good news is: At CVS Health, we already offer innovative tools to help patients understand their own risk factors, make healthier lifestyle choices, and better manage other chronic conditions that can lead to the development of CKD. For example, in honor of Kidney Month, we’re partnering with NKF to offer a simple, one-minute quiz to help people find out if they are one of the 33 percent of Americans at risk for CKD. Please encourage your friends and family to visit kidney.org/cvs to take the quiz today.
More broadly, our CVS Kidney Care management program is already making a difference by using predictive analytics to craft personalized outreach to patients who might otherwise go undiagnosed. This early intervention is critical, because many patients do not show symptoms until their kidneys are already badly damaged. Recent advances in data science enable us to intervene before kidney disease reaches this severe state — allowing us to reduce hospital admissions, support patients with the treatment options that work for them, and improve their quality of life.
For patients who already require dialysis, we’re forging new innovations to reduce the burden of CKD — including increasing access to home-based dialysis options. Completing dialysis treatment at home can empower patients to manage their disease on their own terms, and make it easier for them to stay engaged with their family, colleagues, and community.Dialysis. National Kidney Foundation. https://www.kidney.org/patients/peers/dialysis
Results that matter… for everyone
Innovating in kidney care not only provides CKD patients with a better experience and improved health outcomes — it also benefits the rest of us. By focusing on ways to prevent and more effectively treat CKD, we can minimize the impact of chronic disease overall. Preventive efforts have the power to lower the risks of other chronic conditions like heart disease or diabetes,Preventing Chronic Kidney Disease. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd/prevention while providing home care to kidney disease patients means fewer complications that cost lives and money.
In short, by creating a new model of care for kidney disease in the 21st century, we will improve outcomes for more people while also lowering overall health costs — for employers, communities, taxpayers, and most importantly, for patients.
To learn more about our work in preventing kidney disease and reimagining kidney care, please visit CVSKidneyCare.com.