Step-Wise Management of Anemia in Patients With Chronic Kidney Disease in Primary Care: Qualitative Study
Delanerolle G., Forbes A., van Vlymen J., Gallagher H., Cole N., Hassan S., Tahir M., Bankhead C., Chan T., Swift PA., Suckling R., Macdougall IC., Joy M., de Lusignan S.
INTRODUCTION: Anemia is common in chronic kidney disease (CKD) and is associated with increased cardiovascular risk and reduced quality of life, but is often sub-optimally managed. Most patients are managed in primary care alongside other comorbidities. Interventions to improve the management of anemia in CKD in this setting are needed. METHODS: We conducted a qualitative study to evaluate how an audit-based education (ABE) intervention might improve the management of anemia in CKD. We explored outcomes that would be relevant to practitioners and patients, that exposed variation of practice from National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines, and whether the intervention was feasible and acceptable. RESULTS: Practitioners (n = 5 groups) and patients (n = 7) from 4 London general practices participated in discussions. Practitioners welcomed the evidence-based step-wise intervention. However, prescribing erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) was felt to be outside of their scope of practice. There was a gap between NICE guidance and clinical practice in primary care. Iron studies were not well understood and anemia management was often conservative or delayed. Patients were often unaware of having CKD, and were more concerned about their other comorbidities, but largely trusted their GPs to manage them appropriately. CONCLUSIONS: The first steps of the intervention were welcomed by practitioners, but they expressed concerns about independently prescribing ESAs. Renal physicians and GPs could develop shared care protocols for ESA use in primary care. There is scope to improve awareness of renal anemia, and enhance knowledge of guideline recommendations; and our intervention should be modified accordingly.