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Quality and variation of care for chronic kidney disease in Swiss general practice: A retrospective database study​

Jäger L, Rosemann T, Burgstaller JM, Senn O, Markun S

PLOS ONE (2022)


Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a common condition in general practice. Data about quality and physician-level variation of CKD care provided by general practitioners is scarce. In this study, we evaluated determinants and variation of achievement of 14 quality indicators for CKD care using electronic medical records data from Swiss general practice during 2013–2019.


We defined two patient cohorts from 483 general practitioners, one to address renal function assessment in patients with predisposing conditions (n = 47,201, median age 68 years, 48.7% female) and one to address care of patients with laboratory-confirmed CKD (n = 14,654, median age 80 years, 57.5% female). We investigated quality indicator achievement with mixed-effect logistic regression and expressed physician-level variation as intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) and range odds ratios (rORs).


We observed the highest quality indicator achievement rate for withholding non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug prescription in patients with CKD staged G2–3b within 12 months of follow-up (82.6%), the lowest for albuminuria assessment within 18 months of follow-up (18.1%). Highest physician-level variation was found for renal function assessment during 18 months of follow-up in patients with predisposing conditions (diabetes: ICC 0.31, rOR 26.5; cardiovascular disease: ICC 0.28, rOR 17.4; hypertension: ICC 0.24, rOR 17.2).


This study suggests potentially unwarranted variation in general practice concerning RF assessment in patients affected by conditions predisposing for CKD. We further identified potential gaps in quality of CKD monitoring as well as lower quality of CKD care for female patients and patients not affected by comorbidities.

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