On May 5, the non-profit (501c3) Medical Education Institute Inc. (MEI) launched a new online service: KDQOL COMPLETE™, which scores and stores patient responses to the CMS-required KDQOL-36™ survey. This service is the culmination of years of effort by MEI to encourage use of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) measures, like the KDQOL-36, to improve outcomes for people with chronic kidney disease.
Based on the initial response from the dialysis community, KDQOL COMPLETE is a huge success. More than 700 dialysis clinics have signed on to use the service in just the first month. “The response is gratifying,” said MEI Executive Director Dori Schatell, “because we have created a practical tool that helps dialysis professionals do more than just score surveys. With KDQOL COMPLETE, they can actually use the scores to help improve their patients’ lives.”
Why Focus on Health-Related Quality of Life?
Researchers have been measuring HRQOL—how patients’ perceive their own physical and mental functioning and the impact of chronic disease on their day-to-day lives—for decades. Thought leaders, like members of the Life Options Rehabilitation Advisory Council (LORAC), have been promoting use of HRQOL measures to assess the quality of dialysis patient care for many years.
There are several reasons. HRQOL is a unique outcome that is not measured by the usual indicators, like serum albumin, dialysis adequacy, and anemia. HRQOL scores are clinically useful: they can help identify patient needs and then help assess the effectiveness of interventions to meet those needs.1 Most importantly, HRQOL scores can predict hospital and death among people on dialysis.2 In fact, HRQOL has been shown to be as powerful a predictor of morbidity and mortality as serum albumin levels.3