Jun 7, 2022
Patient Pathways Celebrates 15 Years of Patient Education and Hospital Discharge Services
A DaVita teammate wearing personal protective gear reviews patient education with a patient offscreen

Since 2007, Patient Pathways, a subsidiary of DaVita,[1] has supplemented its partner hospitals’ staff with kidney patient education and provider-neutral discharge planning services.

“Learning you have kidney disease and need either a kidney transplant or dialysis can be a scary discovery,” says Jenna Freeman, senior director of Patient Pathways. “Patient Pathways seeks to calm some of this emotion by equipping patients with education on managing their kidney health and helping to place them with dialysis treatments as the patients continue to work with their nephrologists.”

Patient Pathways currently serves 121 hospitals in the U.S., and more than 475,000 patients have received services since 2011. [2]

This includes patients who have received kidney education, which helps prepare patients — especially those new to kidney disease — with information about managing kidney disease and their treatment options (which include transplantation, home dialysis modalities and in-center dialysis treatments).

Kidney patients are among the most complicated patient populations. And especially for those who are starting dialysis for the first time, hospitals can find it challenging and time-consuming to find a treatment center and place a patient during discharge planning. Patient Pathways seeks to alleviate the process by serving as a single point of contact for hospitals for one-on-one consulting. In addition to education and dialysis placement at a patient’s dialysis center of choice, Patient Pathways facilitates a smooth transition of care by coordinating between the hospital and the dialysis center of choice to send updated clinical and placement data and identifying barriers to dialysis adherence in outpatient dialysis — so as to help reduce the risk of hospital readmissions.

Hospital partners see a positive impact. In fact, in its 15 years of service, Patient Pathways has helped place patients in outpatient dialysis before discharge—with placement confirmed an average of 1.8 days prior to medical clearance in the last 12 months.[3] In the past year alone, Patient Pathways helped place more than 41,500 patients, saving hospital partners’ staff approximately 166,000 hours.[3] Additionally, Pathways partners with physicians to help avoid the need for dialysis treatment on the day of discharge when possible: A total of 9,165 avoidances of dialysis on day of discharge have helped hospital partners save an estimated $4.1 million,[4] with an additional estimated $303,180 saved through emergency department diversions[5] in the past year.  

“It’s important to us that kidney patients and the hospitals that care for them have the support they need to provide high quality and efficient care,” says Freeman. “We can help hospitals save time, which also helps them save money; and we want to make sure patients are comfortable and confident as they start the next step of their kidney care journey.”

Excellence and Experience for Patients

While Patient Pathways helps hospitals save time and resources, they also make sure patients have a high-quality experience as they prepare to leave the hospital and manage their care in an outpatient setting.

In a recent patient survey, individuals who received services from Patient Pathways indicated high levels of satisfaction. When asked on a scale of 1 through 10 if they’d recommend Patient Pathway services, Patient Pathways received an average 9.8 score. Further, when individuals were asked how they’d rate their overall experience on a scale of 1 to 5, patients’ responses provided an average score of 4.99.

Freeman adds that Patient Pathways is focused on improving the kidney care experience for those who have kidney disease—whether they have been receiving treatment for years or have just been diagnosed:

“Knowing that we’ve made an impact for people with kidney disease tells us we’re accomplishing what we set out to do 15 years ago.”

[1] As a provider-neutral service, Patient Pathways works with patients to place them at the patient’s dialysis center of choice, regardless of whether it’s a DaVita or non-DaVita facility.

[2]As of May 2022; DaVita Internal Data. Data pre-dating 2011 is unavailable as of 2022.

[3] April 2021 – March 2022; DaVita Internal Analysis

[4] April 2021 – March 2022, DaVita Internal Analysis; $450/treatment used for this analysis only; Patient Pathways will leverage blended 1:1 and 2:1 HD rate per hospital on contracted rate.

[5] April 2021 – March 2022, DaVita Internal Analysis; Rate of $652 used for this analysis only based on historical VillageHealth analysis and is conservative. Patient Pathways will encourage hospitals to leverage their admission rate for an ESKD patient along with dialysis spend to get to a more accurate savings amount.