Regence, Healthmap team up to better manage care for members with kidney disease 

Regence BlueShield is teaming up with Healthmap to improve outcomes for members with chronic kidney disease.

Beginning July 1, Regence’s fully insured and Medicare Advantage plans in Oregon, Utah, Idaho and Washington will have access to Healthmap’s kidney care management tools, which aim to fill in gaps between stages of kidney care.

The program also uses analytics to intervene proactively to avoid adverse events. Early intervention is critical in kidney care specifically, as progression into more advanced stages of the disease is often avoidable, Drew Oliveira, M.D., senior executive medical director at Regence, told Fierce Healthcare.  

“If you could intervene with those people earlier and manage them, then you can actually help delay or prevent them from going into end-stage renal disease,” he said.

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Kidney care has been a prime target for innovation of late, starting with the feds. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a series of new payment models aimed at boosting the use of home dialysis instead of clinic dialysis when possible as well as increasing the number of transplants.

The Department of Health and Human Services also launched a nephrology-centric accelerator called KidneyX in April 2018.

Joe Vattamattam, CEO of Healthmap, told Fierce Healthcare kidney care is ripe for innovation, as it involves costly, long-term diseases, and clinic dialysis has remained the norm in treatment for a long time.

The push now for home dialysis reflects the industry recognizing missed opportunities, he said. Kidney disease is quite common, impacting 37 million Americans, or 15% of U.S. adults.

“There has been a dearth of innovation in this space,” Vattamattam said.

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The coronavirus pandemic is also putting a spotlight on how crucial home care for kidney disease can be—and that there’s significant interest from patients in exploring these options. Oliveira said that for eligible patients, home peritoneal dialysis can minimize the ups and downs they experience with clinic dialysis, especially as it can performed daily.

He said he expects demand for home care to continue as more patients experience it for the first time thanks to COVID-19.

“There’s a lot of benefits for folks having care done within the home setting,” Oliveira said.