The kidneys are complex, fascinating organs that perform many functions vital to our bodies’ health and well-being. In addition to making urine and removing waste & extra fluid from our blood, they help maintain blood pressure, keep our bones healthy and produce red blood cells.

In short, maintaining our renal health is essential. However, a persistent and ongoing knowledge gap around chronic kidney disease (CKD) means that related mortality rates continue to increase yearly, and it is projected to be the fifth leading cause of death globally by 2040.  Health literacy, or the “personal characteristics and social resources needed for individuals and communities to access, understand, appraise and use information and services to make decisions about health”1, plays a key role in this issue. UK-based research shows that as many as 6 in 10 adults struggle with medical information that includes numbers and statistics vital to their health and well-being.

For these reasons, this year’s World Kidney Day, now in its sixteenth year, is dedicated to ‘Bridging the knowledge gap to better kidney care’ and one that Diaverum is proud to lend its voice to.

The importance of health literacy

1 out of 10 adults worldwide have CKD, and if left untreated, it can be deadly. However, early detection allows for disease care and management to help prevent morbidity and mortality, and improves cost effectiveness & sustainability. By extension, Diaverum sees health literacy as a key element of its promise to provide life-enhancing renal care to its patients – enriching their knowledge and by virtue of this, increasing empowerment, shared decision-making and self-care. Where patients have information about their condition and are able to communicate effectively with their doctors, they are 32% less likely to be hospitalised and 14% less likely to visit the emergency room2, leading to better outcomes and potentially, a better quality of life.

Our plan for 2022

Michaela Blomstrand, Director of Patient Experience and Community Affairs, shared some insights into health literacy’s place for Diaverum’s patients in 2022: “Education is a key pillar of our patient experience strategy here at Diaverum, both for those we look after but also their care partners & families.

We are delighted to be launching a campaign in celebration of World Kidney Day, comprised of a series of educational videos that aim to raise awareness about CKD and what it entails. Being able to understand and talk about your disease is a vital part of making informed decisions about your care and living well with it. We are proud to be supporting our patients on this path”. 

As a global provider of renal care, raising awareness and sharing knowledge around kidney health is key to Diaverum’s mission and part of its daily work. It extends across many of the organisation’s initiatives, such as the d.CARE smartphone application, which gives patients a one-stop platform to view, understand and navigate their dialysis treatment.

Dr Fernando Macário, Diaverum's Chief Medical Officer, said: "Medical care is shifting towards more preventive medicine, focused on the patient's well-being rather than the disease. As a result, a holistic view will prevail over biomedical models. The active participation of patients in determining their health and in therapeutic plans is vital for success in achieving the outcomes of value for them”.

“This new vision of care is based on empowered and well-informed patients, relatives and caregivers, and effective communication strategies supported by modern information systems. The effectiveness of this model largely depends on the ability of health professionals to increase the literacy of the populations they care for. At Diaverum, we take this responsibility very seriously, with proprietary patient education programmes.”

1 https://gateway.euro.who.int/en/themes/health-literacy/#:~:text=Health%20literacy%20refers%20to%20the,to%20make%20decisions%20about%20health
2 (Greene JC, et al. (2019). Reduced hospitalizations, emergency room visits, and costs associated with a web-based health literacy, aligned-incentive intervention: Mixed methods study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 21(10): e14772)

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