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March 13, 2014

World Kidney Day Google+ Hangout On Air

Today is World Kidney Day, which is an important reminder of why kidney disease education and awareness are needed worldwide.

Roughly 1.4 million people across the globe are on dialysis and that number continues to grow each year. Kidney disease is a worldwide health concern. Today I participated in a Google+ Hangout On Air with Dr. Topoti Mukherjee, a nephrologist from India; Angela Lattimore, a dialysis patient from South Carolina; and Sara Hendren, a representative from the nonprofit program Bridge of Life – DaVita Medical Missions.

In case you missed it, here is the recording of the broadcast.

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March 11, 2014

Top 3 Easy Ways You Can Make an Impact During National Kidney Month

Once again, National Kidney Month is upon us. As nephrologists we deal with kidney disease on a daily basis, but the unfortunate reality is that chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a relatively unrecognized condition. Even though 1 out of 10 adults in the United States has kidney disease,[1] CKD has yet to reach the public awareness level of other chronic conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes. In fact, approximately 60 percent of patients with late-stage kidney disease are unaware their kidneys are failing.[2]

What does that mean for us as nephrologists? Our unique position as leaders in kidney care provides the opportunity to educate our patients, our loved ones and others in our communities. Here are three simple steps you can take to help raise awareness during National Kidney Month.

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February 17, 2014

DaVita Honored to Treat Patients in Saudi Arabia

The recently announced partnership of DaVita and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a great opportunity to work together with an outstanding healthcare-delivery system to improve the health of its citizens. Kidney disease is an emerging public health concern in Saudi Arabia, as it is in the United States. DaVita is honored to be able to bring our knowledge and experience to enhance what is already excellent care, as well as to continue learning how best to improve care for kidney patients. This is truly a winning situation for DaVita, for Saudi Arabia and for kidney patients.

Read on below for more details on this partnership.

Left to right: Vice Minister of Health and Health Affairs, Dr. Mansour Naser Al-Howasi, Charge d'Affaires, U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Tim Lenderking, Minister of Health, Dr. Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Rabeeah, Chief Operating Officer of DaVita HealthCare Partners, Dennis Kogod.

Left to right: Vice Minister of Health and Health Affairs, Dr. Mansour Naser Al-Howasi, Charge d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Tim Lenderking, Minister of Health, Dr. Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Rabeeah, Chief Operating Officer of DaVita HealthCare Partners, Dennis Kogod.

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September 6, 2012

Comparing Outcomes for Dialysis Patients Around the World: The Debate Continues

DaVita is entering the world of international dialysis in a big way. We are partnering with doctors in Singapore, India, China, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Germany and other countries. As we embark on this exciting adventure, we again are faced with the nagging perception that dialysis outcomes in the United States are worse than those in other parts of the world. Two recent articles provide fascinating perspectives on this important issue. Read more…

March 29, 2011

Taking on the Global Challenges of Nephrology

Kidney disease has become a condition of epidemic proportions throughout the world. Afflicted patients have high morbidity and mortality, and the costs of care to individuals, governments and society are staggering. I have had the fortune to see the discipline of nephrology grow from one where dialysis and transplantation were scarce, prior to 1972, to the present where the growing needs of aging populations are straining our ability to deliver high quality, cost-effective care. Over the next weeks, months and years, I hope that this blog will stimulate thought about how we can fulfill our mission as physicians, to always think of what is best for patients first, while being responsible stewards of the public trust and resources which enable us to carry out this mission.

The global nature of this challenge came sharply into focus to me on a recent trip to Singapore.  I went there to visit two large academic hospitals, Singapore General Hospital and National University Hospital, as well as to see some of the dialysis facilities in that country. I was struck by the highly sophisticated state of medical care in Singapore, the access to care for needy and wealthy citizens alike, and the insightful comments and questions after my presentations. I realized that I was guilty, as many of us are in the US, of having preconceptions that care was inferior elsewhere, despite statistics that would suggest the contrary. In fact, in Singapore, fewer than 10% of patients dialyze through a percutaneous catheter, and intermediate outcomes for anemia, dialysis adequacy, and so on are quite similar, if not better than ours.

The population in Singapore are aging and the prevalence of diabetes and hypertension are increasing.  The impact is already being seen in a renewed strain on the healthcare system, a rise in the appearance of CKD, and an increase in the incident ESRD rate. Older, sicker patients needing dialysis in a system with restrained resources. Sound familiar?

As author and NY Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman has pointed out in his bestselling book, “The World Is Flat,” our world is indeed becoming flat. For healthcare and its challenges this may be coming more slowly, but it is definitely happening. Re-energizing research into the causes and prevention of CKD/ESRD as well as accelerating current research to emulate the function of natural kidneys will become even more important as this global epidemic continues to unfold. The development of innovative, more cost-effective approaches to preventing and treating ESRD needs to occur so that not only the length, but the quality of life for these vulnerable patients can be enhanced.

“There is no substitute for face-to-face reporting and research,”
Thomas Friedman, author of The World Is Flat

I look forward to your comments, until next time.

Striving to bring quality to life,

Allen R. Nissenson, MD

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