WASHINGTON, D.C.—Laboratory-based treatment reminders meant to improve physicians’ prescribing habits for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) may not be effective, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology (CJASN). The findings indicate that adding information on how to treat patients with CKD to kidney laboratory test results does not provide any benefits.
Nearly 20 percent of people over the age of 65 years have CKD, and primary care physicians care for the vast majority of these patients without input from kidney specialists.
Treatment aids for doctors—such as prompts or reminders that suggest what to prescribe when a test result comes back—could improve care for people with various health problems. Braden Manns, MD (University of Calgary and Alberta Kidney Disease Network, in Alberta, Canada) and his colleagues looked to see if adding information on how to treat CKD patients to kidney test results might improve the care provided by primary care physicians.
The study included 22,092 patients with CKD who were treated at 93 primary care practices in Alberta, Canada. Of these, 5,444 patients were older than 65 years of age and had medication data available. Some patients’ physicians received a standard laboratory prompt with kidney test results while others received an enhanced prompt that recommended that they prescribe an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEi) or angiotensin receptor blocker, which are recommended for CKD patients by clinical practice guidelines.