By Michael J. Choi, MD, FNKF – NKF President, Clinical Director of Nephrology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
The best way to predict the future is to create it. – Abraham Lincoln.
With more than 26 million adults in the United States impacted by kidney disease and over 675,000 people with irreversible kidney failure, or end-stage renal disease (ESRD), who require dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive, the need for innovation that improves diagnosis, management, and treatment is imperative.
Innovation in kidney disease requires the creation of new technologies, software
platforms, care delivery and coordination processes as well as improved education for patients, caregivers, and health providers. Innovation should aim to solve the most challenging problems of today and the future to improve the lives of those impacted by the disease.
NKF is the historic pioneer of scientific research and innovation focusing on the whole person through the lens of kidney health. We have a history of effective action against kidney disease by improving clinical knowledge as well as providing people-centered programs, resources, and support for over 65 years.
On February 9th, I was honored to represent NKF at the Kidney Innovation Summit in Washington, DC, hosted by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the VA Center for Innovation, and the American Society of Nephrology.
The two day Innovation Summit brought together approximately 150 attendees from patient advocacy groups, federal government agencies including the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA), and Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), industry, non-profits, and nephrology experts and researchers from outstanding academic institutions.
The Summit’s goal was to advance innovation in delivering care to people with kidney disease by sharing knowledge and sparking collaborations that will convert new ideas into impact for kidney disease patients and providers.
My presentation of TACKLEing Kidney Disease Up Front: A Trial of Early Chronic
KidneyDisease (CKD) Detection, described the TACKLE Trial, one of NKFs major research initiatives. This will be a large multi-site randomized control trial that will measure the importance of early detection (screen, educate, and treat approach in primary care) among those at risk for CKD and for those identified with the disease compare the effects of education strategies with co-management using a team approach to care. Early diagnosis was a top item of the Summit’s Innovation Wish List.
Moreover, the Summit also featured sessions on kidney replacement therapy and issues in transplantation, including improving the organ discard rate and living donation. NKF is also addressing these issues. In May 2017, we will convene a Consensus Conference to Decrease Kidney Discards to explore approaches to reduce the number of kidneys that are discarded in the U.S. each year. NKF also recently launched The Big Ask, The Big Give, a multi-media public awareness campaign which assists and supports living kidney donation for both kidney patients who have difficulty asking someone to consider a kidney donation (The Big Ask) and potential donors who may not understand this life changing process (The Big Give).
As I further reflect on the Summit, it was inspiring and motivating to hear of so many
projects and ideas that could transform the journey from risk of disease to treatment of it and improve the lives of kidney patients. The most profound discussions and comments were the perspectives from patients, which anchored the beginning and end of each session. Patient advocates in attendance shared their kidney stories and hopes for improving the lives of others impacted by the disease.
NKF’s network of patients, family members, and healthcare professionals are our best collaborators to spark innovation. Thank you for inspiring us, through your personal stories, to work harder together and go further to bring about changes in government policies, programs, education, and research that will improve the lives of kidney patients.
Your continued support and engagement is critical to helping us achieve our goals. Together, we will make kidney disease a public health priority through education, research, innovation and advocacy for all kidney patients.
Citation: United States Renal Data System. 2016 USRDS annual data report: Epidemiology of kidney disease in the United States. National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Bethesda, MD, 2016.