The IMPACT (Incident Management of Patients, Actions Centered on Treatment) program: a quality improvement approach for caring for patients initiating long-term hemodialysis

Steven M Wilson, John A Robertson, Grace Chen, Pooja Goel, Deborah A Benner, Mahesh Krishnan, Tracy J Mayne, Allen R Nissenson
American Journal of Kidney Diseases 2012, 60 (3): 435-43

BACKGROUND: Patients beginning dialysis therapy are at risk of death and illness. The IMPACT (Incident Management of Patients, Actions Centered on Treatment) quality improvement program was developed to improve incident hemodialysis patient outcomes through standardized care.

STUDY DESIGN: Quality improvement report.

SETTING & PARTICIPANTS: Patients who started hemodialysis therapy between September 2007 and December 2008 at DaVita facilities using the IMPACT program (n = 1,212) constituted the intervention group. Propensity score-matched patients who initiated hemodialysis therapy in the same interval at DaVita facilities not using the IMPACT program (n = 2,424) made up the control group.

QUALITY IMPROVEMENT PLAN: IMPACT intervention included a structured intake process and monitoring reports; patient enrollment in a 90-day patient education program and 90-day patient management pathway.

OUTCOMES: Mean dialysis adequacy (Kt/V), hemoglobin and albumin levels, percentage of patients using preferred vascular access (arteriovenous fistula or graft), and mortality at each quarter.

RESULTS: Compared with the non-IMPACT group, the IMPACT group was associated with a higher proportion of patients dialyzing with a preferred access at 90 days (0.50 [95% CI, 0.47-0.53] vs 0.47 [95% CI, 0.45-0.49]; P = 0.1) and 360 days (0.63 [95% CI, 0.61-0.66] vs 0.48 [95% CI, 0.46-0.50]; P < 0.001) and a lower mortality rate at 90 days (24.8 [95% CI, 19.0-30.7] vs 31.9 [95% CI, 27.1-36.6] deaths/100 patient-years; P = 0.08) and 360 days (17.8 [95% CI, 15.2-20.4] vs 25.1 [95% CI, 20.7-25.2] deaths/100 patient-years; P = 0.01).

LIMITATIONS: The study does not determine the care processes responsible for the improved outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS: Intense management of incident dialysis patients with the IMPACT quality improvement program was associated with significantly decreased first-year mortality. Focused attention to the care of incident patients is an important part of a dialysis program.

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