Reports From the Field

Improving Nephropathy Screening in Appalachian Patients With Diabetes Using Practice-Wide Outreach



From West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV.


Objective: To describe the strategies a family medicine clinic in Appalachia utilized to increase nephropathy screening rates as well as to explore the factors predictive of nephropathy screening in patients with diabetes.

Design: This quality improvement project targeted the points in the care process when patients are lost to follow-up for nephropathy screening.

Setting and participants: Patients with diabetes cared for by a primary care provider (PCP) at an academic family medicine practice in Appalachia from January 2018 to November 2018.

Interventions: Bulk orders for albumin-to-creatinine (ACR) testing and urine collection during clinic visit, enhanced patient communication through bulk communication reminders and individual patient outreach, and education of clinic providers.

Measurements: Demographic data and monthly nephropathy screening rates.

Results: The nephropathy screening rate increased by 6.2% during the project. Older patients living closer to the clinic who visited their PCP 3 or more times per year were the most likely to be screened.

Conclusion: Combining team-based interventions with quality control monitoring can significantly improve compliance with recommended nephropathy treatment and screening in rural patients with diabetes at a family medicine clinic.

Keywords: rural; kidney disease; albumin-to-creatinine ratio; electronic health record.


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