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March 25, 2015

Keeping Patients Safe: A Fundamental Requirement to Move Up the Clinical Quality Pyramid

I was having a conversation with my mother-in-law, Doris, recently at her assisted-living facility. She had moved from her own apartment to the memory-care unit two years prior and had adjusted well to the smaller space and more institutional structure of the care she was receiving. At 92 years old she was fortunate to be physically frail but otherwise healthy—on only Synthroid for long-standing hypothyroidism. Slowly progressive dementia is apparent, but she is still able to carry out activities of daily living and recognize and enjoy visitors. I had recently completed Atul Gawande’s newest book, “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End,” and decided to ask Doris what mattered most to her at this stage in her life. She wanted to be treated compassionately, with dignity, and she wanted to feel safe as her external environment contracted around her.

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March 19, 2015

Help Protect Our Most Vulnerable Patients

We need to take a stand, for our patients, against the potential Medicare Advantage (MA) cuts that were recently proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
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February 24, 2015

Announcing DaVita Kidney Care’s First Chief Medical Officer for International Operations

I am proud to announce that Mahesh Krishnan, M.D., MPH, MBA, FASN, will serve as the DaVita Kidney Care’s international chief medical officer and group vice president of research and development to implement global clinical initiatives. DaVita Kidney Care currently operates in 10 counties outside of the U.S. Dr. Krishnan’s expertise will enhance our commitment to clinical differentiation and bring quality of care for our patients around the world.

You can follow Dr. Krishnan on Twitter when he takes over the @DaVitaDoc account as he travels through Asia-Pacific from February 26 through March 8. His tweets will be signed -MK.

Click here to read the full announcement.

February 18, 2015

Stay Employed, Stay Healthy: #WorkWithCKD

For patients, maintaining a career while managing kidney disease may help them feel healthier, happier and more fulfilled overall. In fact, studies show that some people on dialysis who keep their jobs experience a lower rate of depression, have fewer hospitalizations and score higher on general health and vitality tests. I’ve blogged about this topic before and it remains an important part of how we, as nephrologists, can support and empower patients to live the highest quality of life possible.

DaVita Kidney Care hosted a Google+ Hangout, Stay Employed, Stay Healthy: #WorkWithCKD that shares some inspiring patient experiences as well as advice from a fellow nephrologist and trained social worker. Watch the video below and please share with your patients and fellow physicians.

October 21, 2014

DaVita Kidney Care Welcomes Dr. John Wigneswaran

It is an honor to welcome Dr. John Wigneswaran to DaVita Kidney Care and the Office of the Chief Medical Officer (OCMO). John will be joining us as vice president of clinical affairs for the hospital services group. In this role he will lead the ongoing work that has made DaVita Hospital Services the best in the industry, including receiving the only accreditation for such services from The Joint Commission. In addition, John will be working closely with our clinical operations team to evaluate new technology, equipment and pharmaceuticals. Finally, he will be working as an integral member of OCMO, bringing his expertise to discussions of current and future clinical initiatives, as well as working closely with Dr. Bob Provenzano and the OCMO team on developing innovative programs to enhance physician engagement.

John is uniquely qualified to contribute substantially to these efforts at DaVita Kidney Care. In addition to holding an MD degree, he is completing his work toward an MBA at MIT. Further, he has founded Nephroceuticals, an organization focusing on the nutritional needs of kidney and cardiac patients. His broad range of interests, knowledge and accomplishments will make him an incredible resource to DaVita Kidney Care, its patients and its physicians. John is a remarkably committed individual who can blend clinical knowledge and skills with a warm, compassionate personality and complete alignment with our Mission and Values.

We are truly delighted to be able to welcome him to the Village!

You can follow John on Twitter at @doctorWIG.

July 30, 2014

Patient-Focused Quality Pyramid: FluidWise Edition

pouring water in a glass collection isolated

Every year, DaVita Kidney Care strives to improve clinical outcomes for our patients by evaluating the way nephrologists and dialysis caregivers approach patient care. Since 2000, we have succeeded in improving outcomes in specific areas relating to infection control, improved catheter rates, increased use of fistulas, better dialysis adequacy and year-over-year decreased mortality rates.[1] The end result of these improvements in care is increased overall quality of life for our patients. Read more…

July 9, 2014

DaVita Kidney Care Welcomes New Vice President of Clinical Affairs for Home Dialysis

DaVita Kidney Care’s mission is to be the Provider and Partner of Choice. To achieve this mission, we are continually recruiting top clinical leaders in nephrology research and clinical practice to join the DaVita Village. I am proud to announce that we have the honor of welcoming Martin Schreiber, M.D. to our physician leadership team as the vice president of clinical affairs for DaVita home dialysis and a member of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer. I have personally known Marty for more than 20 years and have seen how his commitment to clinical excellence has been a driving force throughout his nephrology career. He has devoted his life to improving the quality of care and quality of life for patients with chronic kidney disease, and is an internationally recognized clinician, researcher and advocate for home dialysis.

I am delighted to welcome Marty to the DaVita Village. My colleagues and I are excited to see such an exceptional physician have the opportunity to help lead the charge in delivering patient-centric care, enhancing patient choice and moving up the DaVita Patient-Focused Quality Pyramid.

July 2, 2014

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: We Need More Giants in Nephrology

Standing on the shoulders of giants

In October 1978, after a year on the faculty at UCLA, I was invited to participate in a panel discussion on peritoneal dialysis (PD) at the Western Dialysis and Transplant Society’s (WDTS) Ninth Annual Meeting at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu. During my training in nephrology at Northwestern University in Chicago (and my internship and residency at Michael Reese Hospital in that same city) I had become a strong advocate for PD. At that time I was placing Tenckhoff catheters at the bedside and prescribing either manual PD using bottled dialysate, or PD using the Baxter Physio-Control system, a proportioning device. I learned at the side of one of the great unsung leaders in dialysis therapy (then working at Lakeside VA Hospital), Dr. Peter Ivanovich—he had a deep passion for the care of patients but also understood the value in clinicians and clinical researchers collaborating with industry to guide research and development. Peter instilled in me many of the values that I have held throughout my career, and I remain grateful to him for that and am thrilled that he is still at it, now at Northwestern, helping drive innovation for kidney patients.

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June 27, 2014

DaVita Kidney Care Welcomes a World Class Leader in Saudi Arabia

In February I shared with many of you that DaVita Kidney Care was honored by the Ministry of Health in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with a contract to care for nearly half of the 10,000 dialysis patients currently under the ministry’s care. With this opportunity came a tremendous challenge, as the prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) has accelerated faster in Saudi Arabia over the past three decades than in many parts of the world(1), and the need for strong healthcare providers, physicians and nurses has never been greater.

Today I am proud to welcome Dr. Abdulkareem Alsuwaida, FRCPC, MSc, to our physician leadership team as the chief medical officer (CMO) for DaVita in Saudi Arabia. I have known Abdulkareem for some time now and have seen how his commitment to clinical excellence has been a driving force throughout his nephrology career. He has devoted his life to improving the quality of care for patients with CKD, extending from their overall experience to their clinical outcomes.

Abdulkareem’s appointment to the CMO role adds to an already impressive career. He received his medical degree from King Abdulaziz University and his postgraduate medical education in internal medicine and nephrology from the University of Toronto. He has published more than 40 clinical research papers on dialysis, glomerulonephritis and lupus nephritis, and is a past president for the Saudi Society of Nephrology and Transplantation. While there, Abdulkareem led several CKD awareness initiatives and collaborated with key international groups dedicated to treating patients with CKD, including the International Society of Nephrology, the American Society of Diagnostic and Interventional Nephrology, the European Renal Association – European Dialysis and Transplant Association (ERA-EDTA) and the Screening and Early Prevention of Kidney Disease study group at Brigham and Women’s Hospital of Harvard Medical School.

Understanding the influence of research on improved outcomes, Abdulkareem has dedicated much of his career to uncovering new insights and has received accolades, including the 2006 Best Research Award from the Saudi Society of Nephrology and Transplantation, and the 2006 Best Research Award for King Fahad Medical City’s research day.

In addition to serving as DaVita’s CMO for Saudi Arabia, Abdulkareem is a professor of medicine and director of postgraduate education at King Saud University in Riyadh, as well as a consulting nephrologist in the division of nephrology at the King Khalid University Hospital.

Earlier this month, while attending the 51st ERA-EDTA Congress in Amsterdam, Abdulkareem shared with me that it was a top priority for both the Ministry of Health and the thousands of Saudi men and women affected by CKD that we provide the absolute highest quality of care. And he knew that joining DaVita was the path by which he could not only contribute to elevating the standard of care in the country, but also make a long-term commitment to improving the overall health of the population.

Please join me in welcoming Abdulkareem to the DaVita Village; my colleagues and I are excited to see such an exceptional physician have the opportunity to lead the charge in impacting patient care and quality of life on a larger scale in Saudi Arabia.

 

 

(1) Abdulla A. Al-Sayyari, FRCP,FACP, Faissal A. Shaheen, FRCP,FACP Saudi Med J 2011; Vol. 32 (4), http://smj.psmmc.med.sa/index.php/smj/article/viewFile/7158/4932

April 25, 2014

April is Donate Life Month

DonateLifeMonth

April is National Donate Life Month (NDLM), a time dedicated to encouraging Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors and to celebrating those who have given life by donating. As physicians, we see patients from across the kidney disease spectrum, from early stage to end stage kidney failure to transplant eligibility. Dialysis is an effective way of treating end stage renal disease, but most patients do not see it as their only long-term choice. The greatest gift we can give our patients is to encourage them to consider transplantation and to help them navigate the sometimes-turbulent waters of transplant evaluation.

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