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Update: 10 Months of Preserving Kidney Function

Dr. Richard Gibney

At Empowered Kidney Care (EKC) we believe the right medications and patient empowerment are the keys to preserving kidney function. Historically, patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) often don’t get proper treatment until it’s too late, but now Dr. Richard Gibney and his team at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio are flipping traditional nephrology on its head by moving “upstream.”

After an initial period of data gathering of six months, the results spoke for themselves. “In six months, we haven’t put a single CKD patient on dialysis, and that’s a radical departure of what we’ve done before,” reported Dr. Gibney.

As time goes on and more data is collected, this empowered kidney care model continues to gain traction. After an additional four months of data collection, we now have ten months of results from March 1 through December 31, 2021.

Empowered Results: 10-month Update

Over the initial data collection period of six months, Dr. Gibney worked with 288 patients with over 425 office visits. Since then, that number has increased to 504 patients with a total of 701 office visits. Over two thirds of the patients (69%) were diagnosed with early-stage CKD 1-3 and the remainder (31%) were diagnosed with CKD 4-5.

To preserve kidney function, the care team prioritized proactive medications and patient empowerment:

  • Ace/ARB Prescribed: 220 (43%)
  • SGLT-2 Prescribed: 200 (39%)
  • Fully Empowered Patients: 229 (45% — up 21% from the 6-month mark!)

(See the CKD Empowerment Checklist for a definition of patient empowerment)

Additional health and care data included:

  • Conservative Care: 18 (3%)
  • Edema/CHF: 70 (14%)
  • Proteinuria (UP/UC)>500 mg: 55 (11%)
  • Diabetic Patients: 347 (69%)
  • Hypertension Patients: 428 (85%)

With such a large majority of patients with diabetes and hypertension, it’s clear that these two risk factors remain the biggest obstacles to kidney health. With proper medications and patient involvement in these areas, we hope to make an even bigger impact in slowing (or stopping) the progression of disease.

After the first ten-month period, the EKC team continues to achieve their goal to preserve function and keep CKD patients from progressing to start dialysis.

Key Takeaways: Preserving Renal Function

The EKC team is continuing to set the bar when it comes to treating chronic kidney disease, and they have identified a few key takeaways from this preliminary data collection period:

1. Identify: Understanding the patient’s health needs is critical to success

2. Treat: Using best practices and appropriate medications to help preserve kidney function

3. Empower: By involving the patient in the care process we can move upstream of ESRD. By equipping them to track their own data, understand their medications, and involving a patient advocate, they can stay out ahead of kidney disease.

An example of patient-provided bag of medications and data

4. Collaborate: By placing the patient at the center of a team that includes their advocate, Primary Care Physician, specialists, social workers, dieticians, and pharmacists, we can help give them the medications, tools, and knowledge so they can focus on health.

5. Analyze Outcomes: Tracking data and patient outcomes is key to developing an Empowered CKD Management Protocol.

Ultimately, the goal is to dramatically reduce the number of patients going on dialysis, but if and when patients do end up with kidney failure, empowered healthcare practices can help them too.

“What could happen if we expand this program to the whole spectrum of CKD management, including home dialysis and transplant?” asks Dr. Joseph Lee. “These are the kinds of things that have huge incidental benefits, keeping patients at work, limiting the burden on their families, and reducing the strain on our healthcare system.”

Join the empowered kidney care movement!

Today in the United States, an estimated 37 million people suffer from chronic kidney disease or end stage renal disease. This means there are abundant opportunities to empower patients and help them gain control of their health and preserve kidney function.

If you are a patient or provider that is interested in learning more about our Empowerment Protocol, don’t hesitate to contact us or check out our empowerment resources:

Download the CKD Empowerment Checklist (for patients and providers)

Download the Empowered CKD Management Protocol

Join the empowered movement and help us move patients upstream of kidney disease!

Empowered Kidney Care

The Empowered Kidney Care staff is made up of doctors, nurses, educators, and change-makers all dedicated to revolutionizing the kidney care experience in America.