CVS Health brings new device, enterprise to bear on kidney disease

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CVS Health brings new device, enterprise to bear on kidney disease

By David Salazar - 04/04/2018
CVS Health is undertaking a new effort to boost patient outcomes and contain costs for chronic kidney disease and dialysis patients. The new initiative will focus on early identification of kidney disease and an expanded home dialysis offering in an effort to optimize care for patients with chronic kidney disease, the company said.

CVS Health noted that its enterprise assets and its introduction of new home hemodialysis technology positioned it to positively disrupt and reshape the kidney care space.

“In dialysis today, there is an enormous unmet medical need with high levels of mortality, frequent hospitalizations and poor quality of life for affected patients,” CVS Health executive vice president and head of CVS Specialty Alan Lotvin said. “As we explored this area it became clear that our enterprise assets from our experience with complex patient home care through Coram, the breadth of our chronic disease management capabilities with CVS Specialty and Accordant, and our deep payer relationships at CVS Caremark will enable us to create a unique value proposition to help reshape dialysis treatment.”

The company said it would be approaching the initiative in stages, beginning with efforts focused on early identification and patient education, followed by the development of a comprehensive home dialysis program. As part of the program, CVS Health said it will be initiating a clinical trial to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of a new hemodialysis device that it plans to submit to the FDA to get market clearance.

“Diagnosing kidney disease early is the only way to prevent kidney failure and cardiovascular complications,” National Kidney Foundation chief medical officer and nephrologist said Joseph Vassalotti said. “There is an urgent need to increase patient awareness of not only the disease itself but also of the treatment options available for both early and chronic kidney failure or end-stage renal disease. Many patients believe in-center dialysis is their only kidney failure treatment choice, and do not know about patient-centered options, including home dialysis or kidney transplant.”

Roughly 700,000 Americans have end-stage renal disease, and roughly half a million of them are on active dialysis, with 120,000 new cases diagnosed annually. In addition to the cost burden associated with the illness — it costs Medicare nearly $65 billion a year and another $34 billion related to patient care — its outcomes lag, with mortality rates for in-center dialysis patients 10 times higher than the general Medicare population.

“While in-center dialysis clinics are currently the most common choice for hemodialysis treatment, published clinical research has shown improved cardiac health, metabolic control, and survival for patients who are treated with longer, more frequent dialysis treatments. This treatment paradigm is best delivered in the convenience of a patient's home,” CVS Specialty chief medical officer Bruce Culleton said. “CVS Health is uniquely positioned to build a solution that will enable us to identify and intervene earlier with patients to optimize the management of chronic kidney disease, while at the same time making home dialysis therapies a real option for more patients.”

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