Telehealth by an Interprofessional Team in Patients with CKD: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Areef Ishani, Juleen Christopher, Deirdre Palmer, Sara Otterness, Barbara Clothier, Sean Nugent, David Nelson, Mark E. Rosenberg

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63 Scopus citations


Background: Telehealth and interprofessional case management are newer strategies of care within chronic disease management. We investigated whether an interprofessional team using telehealth was a feasible care delivery strategy and whether this strategy could affect health outcomes in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Study Design: Randomized clinical trial. Setting & Participants: Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System (VAHCS), St. Cloud VAHCS, and affiliated clinics March 2012 to November 2013 in patients with CKD (estimated glomerular filtration rate < 60 mL/min/1.73 m2). Interventions Patients were randomly assigned to receive an intervention (n = 451) consisting of care by an interprofessional team (nephrologist, nurse practitioner, nurses, clinical pharmacy specialist, psychologist, social worker, and dietician) using a telehealth device (touch screen computer with peripherals) or to usual care (n = 150). Outcomes: The primary end point was a composite of death, hospitalization, emergency department visits, or admission to skilled nursing facilities, compared to usual care. Results: Baseline characteristics of the overall study group: mean age, 75.1 ± 8.1 (SD) years; men, 98.5%; white, 97.3%; and mean estimated glomerular filtration rate, 37 ± 9 mL/min/1.73 m2. Telehealth and interprofessional care were successfully implemented with meaningful engagement with the care system. One year after randomization, 208 (46.2%) patients in the intervention group versus 70 (46.7%) in the usual-care group had the primary composite outcome (HR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.75-1.29; P = 0.9). There was no difference between groups for any component of the primary outcome: all-cause mortality (HR, 1.46; 95% CI, 0.42-5.11), hospitalization (HR, 1.15; 95% CI, 0.80-1.63), emergency department visits (HR, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.68-1.24), or nursing home admission (HR, 3.07; 95% CI, 0.71-13.24). Limitations: Older population, mostly men, potentially underpowered/wide CIs. Conclusions: Telehealth by an interprofessional team is a feasible care delivery strategy in patients with CKD. There was no statistically significant evidence of superiority of this intervention on health outcomes compared to usual care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-49
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Support: The project was funded by grants from the VA Center for Innovation to Dr Ishani and Dr Rosenberg. The funder of the study had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation, or writing of the report.


  • Telemedicine
  • case management
  • chronic disease management
  • chronic kidney disease (CKD)
  • hospitalization
  • hypertension
  • interprofessional relations
  • mortality
  • patient education
  • randomized controlled trial
  • remote monitoring
  • video monitoring
  • virtual visit


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