One fast-growing need in the fields of medical research and health-focused tech is assistance for the 37 million people with chronic kidney disease (CKD), the prevalence of which has been steadily — and stealthily — climbing for years. CKD now affects more than 1 in 7 adults in the United States, which is about 15% of the nation’s adult population.1 Despite this, awareness of the disease — which often has no symptoms until advanced stages — remains frighteningly low. In fact, a jaw-dropping 9 in 10 people with late-stage CKD don’t know they have it.2
That’s why it’s critical that new advancements in renal care focus not only on treatment but also on increasing the rate of diagnosis — and doing so early enough to make a meaningful difference for patients. Fortunately, many of the latest innovations in this field have zeroed in on exactly that challenge. From using artificial intelligence (AI) to identify those in the dark about their condition to employing large swaths of data to more quickly match transplant candidates with available kidneys, tech advancements are changing the kidney care game.
The medical community has also made enormous strides in kidney treatment modalities. From the increasing adoption of at-home dialysis to more holistic approaches to kidney care, new approaches are reimagining treatment options for CKD patients — crafting a form of care that treats not just the disease, but also the individual patient. The upshot? A two-pronged approach that promises to revolutionize the way CKD is diagnosed and treated in the years to come, if not sooner. Here are some of the advances that payers should carefully watch.