Giving Compass' Take:

• Research from RAND Corporation reveals that specialized medical care and coordination can improve chronic kidney disease outcomes and reduce costs. 

• How can funders best support the shifts necessary to accomplish the changes laid out by this study? What further research is needed? 

• Learn about making an impact on kidney failure

Providing specialized medical care and coordination to patients whose kidneys are failing before they need dialysis treatment could save the U.S. health care system more than $1 billion annually, according to a new RAND Corporation analysis.

About 60 percent of the savings comes from avoiding the initiation of kidney dialysis in a hospital setting, while the remainder stems from other improvements in care. The findings are published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

The analysis by researchers shows savings only when the specialized care is extended to people in the latest stages of kidney disease and not when patients are at earlier stages of their illness.

“Extending specialized care to patients with advanced kidney disease before their kidneys fail would have benefits both for patients and for the organizations that pay for their health services,” said Harry Liu, the study's lead author and a senior policy researcher at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “But new payment models may be needed to encourage this change.”

Read the full article about improving chronic kidney disease outcomes at RAND Corporation.