Electronic health records (EHRs) have made it much easier for physicians treating patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) to collect data, including glomerular filtration rate (GFR), creatinine, blood pressure, cholesterol, anemia, and bone health, said Joseph Nally, MD, Director of the Center for Chronic Kidney Disease at the Cleveland Clinic. But they don’t always make it easy for physicians to use the data to improve patient care.
“The EHR has simplified the process in terms of information gathering, but it is still up to the physicians and caregiver team to do all the right things to optimize patient care,” Nally said.
It can be an exercise in frustration for clinicians to access the data. Physicians may have to visit multiple screens and may not be able to easily look at trends in the data over several months, said Paul E. Drawz, MD, a nephrologist at the University of Minnesota. The “holy grail” for CKD patients would be to develop a care plan that makes all the critical clinical information and patient preferences easily accessible, said Nally.
To make such a patient plan a reality, Drawz, chair of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Health Information Technology Working group, is working with Nally and other nephrologists and technology experts from across the country. Building off progress made at a meeting held at NIDDK last October, the working group has begun to develop the plan and other tools that will help nephrologists and their institutions better leverage EHR data to improve patient care (Drawz PE, et al. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol 2015; 10:1488).