February is American Heart Month and this year the focus is on hypertension, often referred to as high blood pressure. In the U.S., 30.3 million American adults have been diagnosed with heart disease , the leading cause of death in our country—and across the world, for men and women of all races. One of the major risk factors for developing heart disease is hypertension, a condition that affects 33.2%, of Americans aged 20+, and only one in four have the condition under control.
Hypertension is a “gateway” condition to chronic kidney disease (CKD). In fact, hypertension is the second leading cause of CKD, a progressive condition that affects 37 million Americans. The vast majority of those with CKD (approximately 90%), live unaware of their condition and for many, renal failure drives them into a hospital emergency room due to “crashing” into dialysis. At that point, the disease has progressed to end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and the patient requires dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. Of those diagnosed with ESRD, 29% will have had a primary diagnosis of hypertension.
Disrupting the hypertension to kidney disease pipeline
The foundation of our Kidney Health Management (KHM) program is big data, predictive analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, which when placed in the hands of clinical experts these are powerful tools in providing early identification and care to reduce the risk factors to CKD and hypertension.
At its core, a KHM program identifies people who have or who are at-risk of developing CKD. Through early identification, evidence-based and clinically appropriate interventions are introduced to delay or slow the disease progression. Care is coordinated amongst providers, avoiding events that could result in costly Emergency Department admissions or hospitalizations. Care teams can help patients build a better understanding of their condition and the role they play in their health, as well as help them advocate for their own care. Social determinants of health obstacles are also addressed with a KHM program, by connecting patients who need additional assistance, such as transportation, meals, and mental health services. The KHM program helps the patient remain adherent with their treatment plan, stay connected to their providers, and improve their overall quality of life.
Should the disease progress to ESRD, appropriate planning can begin to ensure a seamless transition to optimize renal replacement therapy, such as in-home dialysis or a kidney transplant.
KHM is a powerful program in delivering individualized patient-centric care. It has demonstrated its value in improving quality of care, outcomes, member experience and reducing costs, helping to ensure a more sustainable healthcare system in the future. You can learn more about the Healthmap Solutions Kidney Health Management program here.