The significant unmet medical need for chronic kidney disease (CKD) poses a major threat to public health. Over 1 in 7, or 37 million Americans, are estimated to have CKD [1]. This condition involves a gradual loss of kidney function. As the disease progresses to more advanced stages, dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes, and wastes can build up in the body. In the early stages of CKD, individuals may experience few signs or symptoms until the disease has advanced to a later stage.

Due to a lack of awareness among key stakeholders, CKD has often been overlooked across national healthcare strategy considerations. Fortunately, screening tests can inform individuals of their kidney function and enable individuals to make informed healthcare decisions to prevent loss of kidney function and delay or avoid progression to kidney failure.

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Improve health outcomes

CKD is categorized into five stages of severity but is often undetected in its earlier stages. The final stage of the condition is kidney failure, but for individuals who have been diagnosed with CKD, kidney function declines with time. Alarmingly, renal functional capacity can decline to 90% before symptoms appear [2]. As patients with CKD progressively decline to liver failure, there is an increased urgency for dialysis or kidney transplantation. The goals of early detection are to prevent the progression of chronic kidney disease and its associated complications.

Early identification through screening can enable individuals to get the appropriate therapeutic interventions which can subsequently reduce the incidence of adverse and costly effects such as progression to end-stage renal disease, cardiovascular events, and mortality. Increasing the time that patients can undergo therapy has several positive downstream effects, including avoiding the nephrotoxic effects of drugs and more invasive procedures. This in turn, improves patient safety and lowers the risk of patients developing related complications.

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Lower healthcare costs

Late-stage chronic kidney disease treatments, such as dialysis and kidney transplantation, present a significant economic burden. The associated medical costs fall on patients, providers, and payers. A study in the American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC) found that estimated 4-month CKD management costs ranged from $7,725 for stage I to II disease to $11,879 for stage V (without renal replacement therapy), with high additional costs for dialysis ($87,538) and kidney transplantation ($124,271) [3].

Due to the high cost of CKD therapies, there is a growing need to prioritize preventive strategies to delay disease progression. The implementation of cost-effective and efficient screening to monitor kidney function can provide individuals with actionable health insights to help prevent progression to later-stage CKD. Increased awareness of CKD and screening and timely intervention can enable improved economic and clinical outcomes.

How LetsGetChecked can help

Early CKD detection can enable clinicians to initiate effective treatment of mild disease, preventing loss of kidney function and delaying or avoiding progression to kidney failure. LetsGetChecked’s at-home Kidney Health Evaluation Test can help health plan members easily monitor their kidney function and performance from the comfort of their homes. Proactive screening is a crucial first step to connecting members to timely care, improving outcomes, and lowering healthcare costs.

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