Archive for June, 2020

EKHA contributes to publication on dialysis care in Canada and the United States with references to Europe

EKHA has contributed to an article recently published in the Clinical Journal of American Society of Nephrology (CJASN). The article compares and contrasts transnational dialysis-related health policies, with focus on key levers including payment, finance, regulation, and organization. It further describes how policy levers can incentivise favorable practice patterns to support high-quality/high-value, person-centered care and to catalyse the emergence of transformative technologies for alternative kidney replacement strategies. While the article is essentially on dialysis in the United States and Canada, it incorporates several references to Europe. 

According to the article, contemporary dialysis treatment for chronic kidney failure is complex, is associated with poor clinical outcomes, and leads to high health costs, all of which pose substantial policy challenges. Despite similar policy goals and universal access for their kidney failure programs, the United States and Canada have taken very different approaches to dealing with these challenges. Whereas United States dialysis care is primarily government funded and delivered predominantly by private for-profit providers, Canadian dialysis care is also government funded but delivered almost exclusively in public facilities. Differences also exist for regulatory mechanisms and the policy incentives that may influence the behavior of providers and facilities. These differences in health policy are associated with significant variation in clinical outcomes: mortality among patients on dialysis is consistently lower in Canada than in the United States, although the gap has narrowed in recent years. The observed heterogeneity in policy and outcomes offers important potential opportunities for each health system to learn from the other.

Watch the highlights from the EKHA webinar on the need for innovation in Renal Replacement Therapies

On 9 June EKHA organised a webinar on the need for innovation in Renal Replacement Therapy (RRT) as a side meeting of the 57th ERA-EDTA Congress.

The webinar format allowed for an interactive participation from all around the world. Patients shared their stories, needs and expectations from the future. Interviews with ERA-EDTA’s new president Prof. Christoph Wanner and Dutch Kidney Foundation Director Tom Oostrom discussed the way forward to bring about change in Europe.

EKHA President Prof. Raymond Vanholder presented the burden of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in Europe and the role of EKHA as a key stakeholder in raising awareness at the EU level. His two recommendations to tackle CKD were: More EU funding for research and better data collection on frequency, health economic aspects and quality of life of patients.

Another highlight from the webinar was U.S. Food and Drug Administration Associate Director Dr Murray Sheldon’s presentation on the Kidney Health Initiative in the USA. Dr Sheldon stated that the lack of innovation in the 60-year history of dialysis, despite many technological advancements, should be tackled without further delay. Accordingly, he laid out an international roadmap for innovative RRT in Europe based on the US experience, and called for more cooperation. His call was echoed by Clemens van Blitterswijk, Director of MERLN Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine at Maastricht University, who explained how funding can generate the disruptive technology needed to save and improve the lives of millions dependent on RRT.

The webinar also addressed how to amplify the voice of kidney health advocates at the EU level and bring about policy change. European Cancer Leagues Advocacy and Project Manager Anna Prokůpková shared insights into the success of the cancer lobby in the EU and what the kidney community can do to emulate these achievements. In a video address, MEP Group for Kidney Health Chair MEP Hilde Vautmans expressed her support and commitment to the kidney health agenda, and emphasised that this is a European battle:

“If we want to maintain our status of a pioneering continent, we cannot just stand by and watch the wave of new technology and innovation in other branches of the medical industry pass by. We have to fight for a better health of all Europeans, so also those thousands of patient who suffer from chronic kidney disease. More awareness in Europe, more European funding, more innovation. That is what I will be working for in the European Parliament over the next few years.”

The webinar ended with small group discussions allowing all participants to discuss and prioritise the recommendations of the speakers, which then led to the formulation of common conclusions and next steps. The top recommendations emerged as follows, based on participants’ votes:

  • More EU funding for research and innovative product development
  • Collaboration around joint vision and goals towards achieving it
  • Building a strong European network

EKHA thanks all participants for a very fruitful discussion, the outcomes of which will surely inform our future work in the field.

You can see the full programme of the webinar here, and watch a compilation of the discussions below.