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Proteinuria Among Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease: A Performance Measure for Improving Patient Outcomes

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Background: In an effort to improve identification and treatment of patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) developed the Kidney Disease Quality Outcomes Initiative (KDQOI) clinical practice guidelines, which include measurement of proteinuria among all patients with CKD who are not receiving chronic dialysis therapy. Encouraging dissemination and utilization of these guidelines may be enhanced by the development of performance measures. The question of whether adequate evidence exists to advocate for the measurement of proteinuria in CKD as a performance measure was explored.

Methods: The US Preventive Services Task Force “chain of evidence” framework was used to guide evidence synthesis from the systematic review. Five questions were applied to specific links in the evidence chain: (1) Is there direct evidence that testing for proteinuria improves health outcomes? (2) What is the yield of testing, in terms of both accuracy and reliability of the test and the prevalence of undiagnosed proteinuria? (3) What adverse effects result from testing a person for proteinuria? (4) Does treatment of proteinuria as a result of testing provide an incremental benefit in health outcomes? and (5) What adverse effects result from treating a person for proteinuria? The systematic search specifically targeted meta-analyses and systematic reviews.

Findings: The systematic review revealed no direct evidence that testing for proteinuria among patients with CKD reduced incidence of end-stage renal disease (ESRD). However, the strong links between testing, treatment, and outcome suggest a correlation between proteinuria testing and ESRD.

Conclusions: Current evidence suggests that proteinuria testing (using the albumin-to-creatinine ratio [ACR]) among patients with CKD would be an appropriate health care quality performance measure for improving patient outcomes.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2012

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  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    David W. Baker, MD, MPH, FACP, executive vice president for the Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation at The Joint Commission, is the inaugural editor-in-chief of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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