Patient-reported outcomes in hemodialysis vascular access: A call to action
While access-related dysfunction is a clear driver of clinical outcomes and costs, the full impact of vascular access dysfunction on patient experience and quality of life is not fully characterized in the literature. One way to more comprehensively characterize the patient experience from the patient perspective is through patient reported outcomes (PROs). However, the limited implementation of PROs in clinical trials, patient registries, quality measurement, and other research settings has significantly constrained the patient voice in evaluation of vascular access outcomes and vascular access decision-making. To address these issues, the Kidney Health Initiative, a public-private partnership between the American Society of Nephrology and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, assembled an interdisciplinary workgroup to enhance uptake of access-related PROs with the aims of: (1) reviewing the domains of HRQOL that are affected by vascular access, collect information on existing instruments that measure access-specific HRQOL in hemodialysis, and identify gaps in existing measures; (2) identifying and critically assessing barriers to widespread use of access-specific PRO measures; and (3) defining initiatives to overcome barriers and make recommendations for strategies to improve the use and utility of access-specific PRO measures. A consensus group process identified potential barriers to use of PRO measures in six categories: (1) PRO misperceptions, (2) patient factors, (3) regulators and payers, (4) instrument factors, (5) study design, and (6) physicians. The workgroup provided recommendations for actions to promote the widespread utilization of vascular access-related PRO measures in five categories: (1) development of vascular access-specific PRO measures, (2) ensuring comprehensive assessment when using vascular access PRO measures, (3) ensuring accessibility and applicability of vascular access PRO measures to all end stage kidney disease populations, (4) establishing universal guidelines and accepted vascular access PRO measures, and (5) engaging stakeholders across all facets.