On March 15, DaVita®, a division of DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc. (NYSE: DVA) and a leading provider of kidney care services, was recognized with the Patient Safety Improvement Award during the Renal Physician Association's (RPA) annual meeting for the company's innovative CathAwayTM program.
“We're so pleased with CathAway's outcomes and how we've been able to help improve the quality of life of thousands of patients”
Each year RPA acknowledges a pioneering initiative to improve the safety of patients with end-stage renal disease. Awardees are selected by a committee of physicians, patients and health care professionals.
Dialysis requires access to the patient's vascular system, and some access methods are more prone to infection than others. CathAway's mission is straightforward: eliminate infection-prone central venous catheters (CVCs) and replace them with functioning arteriovenous (AV) fistulas or grafts for safe and effective dialysis treatments.
Since its inception in 2008, nearly 12,000 fewer DaVita patients are dialyzing with CVCs.
"We're so pleased with CathAway's outcomes and how we've been able to help improve the quality of life of thousands of patients," said DaVita Chief Medical Officer Allen R. Nissenson, M.D., F.A.C.P., who accepted the award on behalf of DaVita. "By decreasing CVC use, we have also helped patients avoid serious complications, including infection, which often result in hospitalization and contribute to mortality. Not only are the clinical benefits of CVC elimination substantial, but the total costs of health care are decreased—a significant savings to taxpayers."
DaVita's clinical team also instituted a series of efforts to keep patients from reverting to CVCs because of thrombosis (clotting) while dialyzing with fistulas and grafts. These efforts included emphasizing the link between clinical goals and patient safety in both internal and external communications; reaching out to physicians through educational seminars that include CathAway information; companywide engagement to encourage patients and clinical staff to listen for signs of distress in their dialysis access; and a pilot test of software for monitoring thrombosis risk.
The CathAway program has been extraordinarily successful. By the end of 2012 the rate of patients on dialysis for more than 90 days with a CVC dropped to an all-time low of 13.9 percent. Clot rates dropped from 42 percent to 12 percent in the pilot surveillance program.