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Epic, DaVita Partner to Develop Chronic Kidney Disease EHR System

DaVita users will benefit from improved EHR system capabilities and interoperability through Epic Care Everywhere.

Epic EHR

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- Epic will partner with DaVita Physician Solutions to improve capabilities within DaVita’s chronic kidney disease (CKD) EHR system offering.

Effective chronic disease management is especially critical for CKD patients given the importance of ensuring smooth transitions of care. Giving patients that progress to end stage renal disease (ESRD) a healthy transition to dialysis can help reduce the chances of infection.

Almost 80 percent of patients who make an unprepared transition to dialysis use a central venous catheter to access treatment, which is associated with higher mortality rates and an increased likelihood of infection. Additionally, poorly managed transitions of care can cost healthcare systems $35,000 per patient.

The number of ESRD patients is expected to double to 850,000 over the next 10 years. DaVita intends to increase the efficiency of CKD care to improve patient health outcomes and cut hospital costs by improving its EHR solution.

"Our goal is to create technology solutions for physicians that are easy to use and are efficient in providing the right data at the right time to improve quality outcomes," said DaVita Physician Solutions Vice President of Physician Experience Derek Schoonover.

In addition to optimizing DaVita’s CKD EHR solution offering, the partnership will allow DaVita users improved interoperability through Epic Care Everywhere. The interoperability platform facilitates health data exchange between Epic and other systems from many different EHR vendors.

"With Epic as its backbone, DaVita joins the community of connected organizations that covers almost two-thirds of Americans nationwide,” said Epic Population Health Vice President Alan Hutchison. “CKD and end stage renal disease are major drivers of cost and coordination is critical.

“By leveraging Care Everywhere interoperability, DaVita will not only be able to collaborate, but also to provide the Epic community with information and insights to help reduce costs and facilitate care,” he continued.

DaVita will work with Epic to develop their partnership over the next 18 to 24 months. Current users of DaVita’s existing CKD EHR platform – Falcon Platinum – will be offered a migration path to ensure a smooth transition to the physician office-based CKD care solution.

DaVita first introduced its nephrology-specific EHR system Falcon Physician in 2009. The solution initially served as a way to assist nephrologists with clinical quality outcomes and has since evolved to include a variety of EHR tools for clinical documentation, data aggregation, and quality reporting in physician offices and dialysis units.

Epic and DaVita intend the CKD EHR to allow for improved nephrologist participation in quality reporting programs and more advanced population health management.

"The needs of our users and the demands of the health care IT ecosystem have changed, as has the growing need of patients," said DaVita Kidney Care Vice President Adam Weinstein, MD. "We are evolving and differentiating, and our software must continue to support interoperability and discrete data collection, while still meeting all of the necessary documentation demands of our users and our patients."

Streamlining transitions of care with advanced EHR system functionality could also help DeVita users reduce the likelihood of unintended health consequences for ESRD patients.

According to a July 2017 Nephrology study, ESRD patient populations experience a re-hospitalization rate of 34.6 percent – twice that of Medicare beneficiaries without the disease, who are re-hospitalized at a rate of 15.3 percent.

The disproportionate amount of re-hospitalizations among those with ESRD points to problems with care coordination and the importance of promoting more efficient transitions in care for dialysis patients.

Collaborative efforts between Epic and DaVita to develop an advanced nephrology-specific EHR solution could help improve health outcomes for patients with complex conditions.