Jul 6, 2023
Where IT and Health Care Policy Meet: The Key to Unlocking Kidney Care Transformation
Dr. Adam Weinstein, DaVita Chief Medical Information Officer

In recent years, the nephrology community has focused on increasing the number of patients listed for kidney transplant and receiving home dialysis therapies, in part, by more aggressively focusing on patients with early stages of kidney disease. This evolution relies on patient data to help inform and unlock these opportunities.

“We’re living in an information-rich space,” Dr. Adam Weinstein, DaVita’s chief medical information officer, says. “[Our] job is to build tools that summarize and offer up data in a way that is palatable and actionable, and helps physicians focus on the most important patient care activities.”

Throughout his career, Dr. Weinstein has been committed to finding ways to better serve patients with kidney disease beyond typical face-to-face care activities. He sees many opportunities to organize, present, and analyze data better—in all nephrology software—from kidney care focused office electric health record systems (EHRs) to DaVita’s dialysis information systems.

“My role at DaVita has allowed me to work at the intersection of clinical nephrology, information technology (IT), and health care policy,“ he explains. “I am very fortunate to be able to offer help to my colleagues and give our patients the opportunity to achieve better care and better outcomes.”

Nephrology is a data-heavy specialty. 30 million dialysis treatments for approximately 200,000 patients each year generates an enormous amount of information to learn from and take action on. And office-based chronic kidney disease (CKD) care offers even greater amounts of information. Lab data, visit frequencies, and a wide variety of care information all paint a picture of care patterns that can be leveraged if presented at the right time and place in the clinical workflow. A major focus of DaVita's clinical IT teams is helping to build software that aggregates and presents data this way.

“Kidney patients generate enormous quantities of valuable data,” Dr. Weinstein says. “And when it comes to managing chronic diseases, like CKD and end stage kidney disease (ESKD), such data can be a powerful driver for proactive and preventative care. This not only helps to avoid deleterious outcomes, but helps ensure each individual patient receives access to the types of dialysis that are most ideal for them, and opportunities to receive a transplant. And with the IT tools DaVita has built, we can use this data to help improve the timeliness and quality of conversations between patients and nephrologists.”

"Kidney patients generate enormous quantities of valuable data."

DaVita continuously invests in and builds technology that supports better care delivery, such as the physician tool, OneView, and the DaVita Care Connect software platform for patients on home dialysis. In 2022, the kidney care company also introduced Center Without Walls (CWOW), a first-of-its-kind cloud-based dialysis information system for DaVita teammates (employees) that helps streamline workflows and provides seamless access to crucial patient data across all DaVita facilities.

In his role, Dr. Weinstein helps bring a clinical perspective to the broad array of DaVita’s IT tools. He enjoys working with a wide variety of stakeholders, including DaVita leaders, software engineers, and many of DaVita’s credentialed nephrologists. His work spans many teams. For instance, he’s recently been working with DaVita’s Patient Digital Next team, helping to expand the functionality of DaVita Care Connect.

Dr. Weinstein began consulting for DaVita in 2010 while serving as president of the Maryland-based nephrology practice he cofounded in 2006. In 2017, he moved into a full-time role as vice president of medical affairs, and in 2022 transitioned into the role of DaVita’s first chief medical information officer. Of note, Dr. Weinstein maintains a part-time clinical practice in Maryland.

His ongoing clinical experience is an incredibly valuable perspective to build better tools. “It’s been an endless series of learning opportunities, and it’s helped shape a lot of my desire to push kidney care forward,” Dr. Weinstein says.

Opportunities in healthcare policy have also molded Dr. Weinstein’s career in nephrology, at both the local and national levels. He spent six years on the Renal Physicians Association (RPA) board of directors and continues to work with and represent the RPA in national medical forums. And from 2010 to 2017, he served in a Maryland Governor-appointed role on the Maryland Health Care Commission, gaining in-depth exposure to a wide variety of complex healthcare payment models, certificates of need, and population health activities.

Dr. Weinstein believes robust, interoperable, and well-designed nephrology IT tools are critical to success in value-based care (VBC) models. As VBC’s emphasis on pre-dialysis care, kidney transplants, and home modalities has intensified, he sees nephrology, IT, and healthcare policy converging more rapidly and intensely than he anticipated.

“In an ideal world, you have patients, physicians, and health care entities like DaVita integrated in a way that promotes the mutual sharing of data,” Dr. Weinstein says. “IT can support all of that, giving every patient an opportunity to take advantage of our advanced health care system.”

And as DaVita continues down a path toward this ideal state, Dr. Weinstein believes the kidney care company is positioned for success.

“Through this work, we can support DaVita’s mission to provide high-quality, safe, and reliable kidney care, be it dialysis or CKD care, while also helping more patients get access to transplant or home dialysis treatment,” he says. “We’re building the critical tools to help deliver on this mission.”