A Virtual Multidisciplinary Care Program for Management of Advanced Chronic Kidney Disease: Matched Cohort Study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Paulina Kaiser
  • Olivia Pipitone
  • Anthony Franklin
  • Dixie R. Jackson
  • Elizabeth A. Moore
  • Christopher R. Dubuque
  • Carmen A. Peralta
  • Anthony C. De Mory

External Institution(s)

  • Samaritan Health Services


Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e17194
JournalJournal of medical Internet research
Issue number2
StatusPublished - Feb 12 2020


BACKGROUND: It is not well established whether a virtual multidisciplinary care program for persons with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) can improve their knowledge about their disease, increase their interest in home dialysis therapies, and result in more planned outpatient (versus inpatient) dialysis starts. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to evaluate the feasibility and preliminary associations of program participation with disease knowledge, home dialysis modality preference, and outpatient dialysis initiation among persons with advanced CKD in a community-based nephrology practice. METHODS: In a matched prospective cohort, we enrolled adults aged 18 to 85 years with at least two estimated glomerular filtration rates (eGFRs) of less than 30 mL/min/1.73 m2 into the Cricket Health program and compared them with controls receiving care at the same clinic, matched on age, gender, eGFR, and presence of heart failure and diabetes. The intervention included online education materials, a virtual multidisciplinary team (nurse, pharmacist, social worker, dietician), and patient mentors. Prespecified follow-up time was nine months with extended follow-up to allow adequate time to determine the dialysis start setting. CKD knowledge and dialysis modality choice were evaluated in a pre-post survey among intervention participants. RESULTS: Thirty-seven participants were matched to 61 controls by age (mean 67.2, SD 10.4 versus mean 68.8, SD 9.5), prevalence of diabetes (54%, 20/37 versus 57%, 35/61), congestive heart failure (22%, 8/37 versus 25%, 15/61), and baseline eGFR (mean 19, SD 6 versus mean 21, SD 5 mL/min/1.73 m2), respectively. At nine-month follow-up, five patients in each group started dialysis (P=.62). Among program participants, 80% (4/5) started dialysis as an outpatient compared with 20% (1/5) of controls (OR 6.28, 95% CI 0.69-57.22). In extended follow-up (median 15.7, range 11.7 to 18.1 months), 19 of 98 patients started dialysis; 80% (8/10) of the intervention group patients started dialysis in the outpatient setting versus 22% (2/9) of control patients (hazard ratio 6.89, 95% CI 1.46-32.66). Compared to before participation, patients who completed the program had higher disease knowledge levels (mean 52%, SD 29% versus mean 94%, SD 14% of questions correct on knowledge-based survey, P<.001) and were more likely to choose a home modality as their first dialysis choice (36%, 7/22 versus 68%, 15/22, P=.047) after program completion. CONCLUSIONS: The Cricket Health program can improve patient knowledge about CKD and increase interest in home dialysis modalities, and may increase the proportion of dialysis starts in the outpatient setting.

    Research areas

  • chronic kidney disease, end-stage renal disease, online social networking, patient education, renal dialysis

Citation formats


Kaiser, P., Pipitone, O., Franklin, A., Jackson, D. R., Moore, E. A., Dubuque, C. R., ... De Mory, A. C. (2020). A Virtual Multidisciplinary Care Program for Management of Advanced Chronic Kidney Disease: Matched Cohort Study. Journal of medical Internet research, 22(2), e17194. https://doi.org/10.2196/17194


Kaiser, P, Pipitone, O, Franklin, A, Jackson, DR, Moore, EA, Dubuque, CR, Peralta, CA & De Mory, AC 2020, 'A Virtual Multidisciplinary Care Program for Management of Advanced Chronic Kidney Disease: Matched Cohort Study', Journal of medical Internet research, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. e17194. https://doi.org/10.2196/17194