Dialysis facility and patient characteristics associated with utilization of home dialysis

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Clinical journal of the American Society of Nephrology : CJASN








BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Nonmedical factors influencing utilization of home dialysis at the facility level are poorly quantified. Home dialysis is comparably effective and safe but less expensive to society and Medicare than in-center hemodialysis. Elimination of modifiable practice variation unrelated to medical factors could contribute to improvements in patient outcomes and use of scarce resources. DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS, & MEASUREMENTS: Prevalent dialysis patient data by facility were collected from the 2007 ESRD Network's annual reports. Facility characteristic data were collected from Medicare's Dialysis Facility Compare file. A multivariate regression model was used to evaluate associations between the use of home dialysis and facility characteristics. RESULTS: The utilization of home dialysis was positively associated with facility size, percent patients employed full- or part-time, younger population, and years a facility was Medicare certified. Variables negatively associated include an increased number of hemodialysis patients per hemodialysis station, chain association, rural location, more densely populated zip code, a late dialysis work shift, and greater percent of black patients within a zip code. CONCLUSIONS: Improved understanding of factors affecting the frequency of use of home dialysis may help explain practice variations across the United States that result in an imbalanced use of medical resources within the ESRD population. In turn, this may improve the delivery of healthcare and extend the ability of an increasingly overburdened medical financing system to survive.