By Eric Reimer
Chief Executive Officer and Co-chairman of the Board
In a recent guest essay for The New York Times, Dr. Daniela Lamas graphically described the alarming issues COVID-19 is raising for potential lung transplant patients. Sadly, her points about life-threatening COVID risks can be applied to other vital organs of the body, including the kidneys.
As The New York Times reported last April, hospitals treated COVID-19 patients who developed acute kidney injury (AKI) while in the ICU. Reports out of New York City alone indicated that 20% to 40% of COVID-19 ICU patients developed AKI and needed emergency dialysis. For those who left the hospital on dialysis it’s clear that they’ll need ongoing dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. For others, it is less straightforward.
The Risk is Real, and Most People are Unaware
It is well established that AKI poses significant risk for developing chronic kidney disease. The challenge for this population of COVID-19 AKI survivors is that they are like 37 million other Americans – living unaware they have kidney disease. Most will likely learn of their condition only when kidney failure drives them into an emergency room and they “crash” into dialysis. At this point,the condition is irreversible, requires ongoing complex care management, and is costly to treat.
We can alter this trajectory. Alerting COVID-19 survivors, especially those who were hospitalized, providers and other healthcare stakeholders to the risk is an important first step. Actively monitoring survivors to detect early signs of advancing kidney disease is an imperative. When someone is diagnosed, it’s important to introduce clinically proven interventions to delay or slow disease progression. This ensures planned, clinically appropriate and seamless care transitions, which may include in-home dialysis or a transplant.
We have the technology and clinical expertise needed to do it right now.
A Kidney Health Management Solution
At Healthmap, our robust data capabilities, advanced technology, and predictive analytics allow us to identify those at risk for kidney disease and intervene to delay or slow disease progression. We work closely with doctors across the kidney care spectrum, from primary care physicians and nephrologists to cardiologists, endocrinologists, and mental health professionals, to ensure patients get the care they need and are supported throughout their kidney health journey. We champion patients and their care partners in becoming empowered, active, and informed on their condition.
Our health plan partners are engaged with us in the effort to reduce the toll kidney disease takes on patients, providers and the healthcare system. Including COVID-19 survivors who are at risk for kidney disease is an important and necessary step in this effort. If you are looking for a partner to work with your health plan, contact us.