For Dr. Mark Kaplan, vice president of medical affairs and clinical IT for DaVita, data is everything. He believes leveraging information technology (IT) offers an enormous opportunity to improve health care – specifically, helping the kidney care community better balance cost and consistency of care, and patient safety.
To honor his work in spearheading the launch of Center Without Walls™ (CWOW™), DaVita’s new cloud-based dialysis data management platform, Dr. Kaplan was awarded the One For All award at DaVita’s internal conference, Villagewide, in January. Villagewide highlights and celebrates teammates (DaVita employees) and provides updates and accomplishments from around the country and internationally. The One For All award is one of DaVita’s most prestigious awards – honoring a teammate who encompasses and demonstrates DaVita’s core values.
One of Dr. Kaplan’s role models is his father, who was a primary care physician. His father inspired him to attend medical school at Vanderbilt University, where he was drawn to nephrologist mentors during his residency. He was particularly interested in the complexities of kidney function and diseases, leading him to specialize in nephrology.
Before joining DaVita in 2011, Dr. Kaplan practiced nephrology for 15 years in Nashville, Tenn., where he led a nephrology clinical trials research program. He also served as the vice president of clinical research at Renal Care Group and Fresenius Medical Care, and was chief medical officer at DSI Renal, Inc.
Dr. Kaplan holds a strong belief in the potential of electronic medical data and tools to move health care forward. “I always enjoyed technology and I could see early on that it had the potential to play a huge role in benefitting health care,” he said.
Through this intersection, Dr. Kaplan plays a leading role in contributing to DaVita’s mission to transform kidney care. He is a strong clinical voice in IT development for DaVita, and views the capture, presentation, and use of patient data as a critical component to leading this transformation.
“I see this work as the backbone to transforming kidney care,” Dr. Kaplan said. “When you walk into any health care setting you’re immediately bombarded with information, from vitals, to labs, to medications. For a computer to sort through all of that information and accurately put together trends that help improve the quality of care, that’s how we can make a big difference.”
Dr. Kaplan’s passion for both nephrology and IT has placed him at the center of the launch for DaVita’s new CWOW platform. CWOW is DaVita’s dialysis data management platform centralizing and streamlining DaVita’s clinical information. It is the central data repository that integrates with other DaVita care management platforms to provide care teams with comprehensive and timely patient information.
In addition, CWOW helps DaVita’s care teams work smarter by centralizing crucial information and helping guide the right care activities at the right time. DaVita began deploying the new platform in 2022, and projects full implementation across U.S. dialysis centers by mid-2023. Dr. Kaplan has played a central role in the launch as well, working with teams on the change management needed for ongoing care while moving to new technology. “Not many doctors are willing to do what Dr. Kaplan does,” DaVita CEO Javier Rodriguez said when presenting him with the One For All award in January. “He is a gift to all of us.”
Dr. Kaplan believes in the importance of a holistic patient view, which can be enhanced by technology. For instance, CWOW is opening opportunities to create and implement new predictive analytics and clinical decision support tools, and enable more use of artificial intelligence.
“I feel deep gratitude to be entrusted with this project,” Dr. Kaplan said. “I really believe this is one of the key tools we have to make health care better, more affordable and more equitable.”