Inner City, Suburban Dialysis Clinics Perform Equally

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LAS VEGAS—Clinics that deliver dialysis to inner-city patients, many of whom live below the poverty level, are performing just as well as other clinics nationwide based on DaVita’s Dialysis Quality Indicators (DQI), according to new research presented at the National Kidney Foundation's Spring Clinical Meetings.

"These findings are very encouraging," said Dr. Lynda Szczech, MD, MSCE, president of the National Kidney Foundation. "Regardless of where people are receiving dialysis, they should feel confident about the quality of their care."

During the study, researchers led by Rich Mutell, Director, Health Economics and Medical Informatics at DaVita,compared metrics associated with quality of care between patients of 63 urban and 1,298 non-urban clinics. All inner-city clinics were located in dense population areas with at least 1 in 5 families living below the poverty level.

Researchers looked at whether patients in both groups had received proper vaccinations, if their anemia was under control, and how many had a type of access for dialysis that minimizes the risk of infections. They also noted how efficient dialysis was in removing toxins from patients' bodies, and the percentage of patients with healthy blood levels of parathyroid hormone, calcium, phosphorus, and albumin.They found that clinics serving in urban areas were faring just as well as clinics outside of those areas.

“Other research often paints a more discouraging picture of the health of people living in poor, urban areas but this study shows that this presumed disadvantage does not extend to dialysis clinics,” Mutell stated.One reason inner-city clinics fare just as well as their non-urban counterparts is that all clinic administrators focus on these particular metrics as a way to keep their patients healthy.  Sometimes studies that examine the health of inner-city adults only look at one single metric—such as anemia—and taking a broader perspective by including additional metrics may present a more accurate picture, noted Mutell.

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