Disease Management Program Reduces Hospital Days for Chronic Renal Disease Patients

From 1997 to 2000, researchers at the Brandeis University Institute for Health Policy supported a study of the renal disease management program operated by Southern California Kaiser Permanente, a regional, nonprofit HMO.

The program featured routine screening for kidney disease, care provided by a multidisciplinary team, and treatment guided by disease management protocols.

The study compared outcomes of patients with end-stage renal disease treated by the HMO to patient outcomes achieved by Medicare fee-for-service providers.

Key Findings

  • Kaiser patients with end-stage renal disease were seen earlier and more regularly by kidney specialists than were the fee-for-service patients.
  • Kaiser patients used significantly fewer hospital days in the year prior to diagnosis with end-stage renal disease than did fee-for-service patients (12 days vs. 16.6 days). They also used significantly fewer hospital days in the year following diagnosis (17 days vs. 28.2 days).