Research and Development
The University of Michigan Kidney Epidemiology and Cost Center (UM-KECC) is an interdisciplinary research group dedicated to fighting the battle against ESRD by promoting health, improving patient outcomes, and informing public policy regarding kidney failure and transplantation. This group brings together experts from the Departments of Biostatistics, Health Management and Policy, Surgery, Internal Medicine, Nephrology and Epidemiology. UM-KECC includes 24 affiliated faculty members from these departments, as well as over 40 statistical analysis, IT, programming, administrative staff. UM-KECC's Medical School affiliated faculty contribute over 170 total years of clinical practice experience to our team. These clinicians continue to practice in a tertiary care medical center, providing real-time updated medical knowledge to our products. Our expertise has been built from our rich experience in developing and calculating quality metrics for the annual reports about individual ESRD dialysis facilities’ clinical performance. UM-KECC provides this support through systematic identification of appropriate quality measures for ESRD that are based on clinical and statistical knowledge, are precisely and publicly defined, are reviewed and updated regularly, and are clearly linked to improved clinical outcomes. In addition to our ongoing work developing and reporting on outcomes and process measures in among the ESRD population, UM-KECC, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and University of California, San Francisco, has successfully established a Chronic Kidney Disease Surveillance System for the entire United States, which assesses the prevalence and impact of CKD on the health care system as well as resources utilized by those with CKD. Additionally, UM-KECC is currently working with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to develop a CKD and ESRD registry among the VA population.
Our ESRD database is the backbone for the research of UM-KECC, which has been maintaining a large database that was assembled in 1988 with the first United States Renal Data System (USRDS). Since that time, this database has been updated and expanded to support ongoing government contracts. Keeping abreast of changes and improvements in data collection, UM-KECC continues to work with CMS to incorporate new data sources, such as CROWNWeb (a new system allowing dialysis facilities to report large amounts of data about each of their patients), in measure developments as well as in calculation of existing facility-level quality measures, such as those reported in the DFRs. Methodology for computing measures is continually reviewed by our team of biostatisticians and clinicians, and we continue to work with government agencies to create new measures for assessing the quality of care providers.
The work done by UM-KECC involves disseminating timely, accurate, and complete reports of these quality measures to inform patients, providers, and policy makers. UM-KECC produces and securely distributes Dialysis Facility Reports (DFRs) for about 6000 dialysis facilities each year. We also recently began producing similar reports and an annual Renal Dialysis Facility Cost Report for each of the Veteran's Administration-operated free-standing dialysis units. The UM-KECC Research Seminar Series features talks from internationally renowned experts from a wide variety of professional disciplines within the University of Michigan, as well as from around the world. Presentations showcase cutting-edge research done in Nephrology, Cardiology, Cancer, Organ Transplantation, Biostatistics, Health Policy and Economics, Global Health, Epidemiology and various other topics. UM-KECC faculty and staff produce numerous publications annually, appearing in such periodicals as the American Journal of Transplantation, the American Journal of Kidney Disease, and many more.
Our analytic team includes internationally recognized experts in biostatistics and epidemiology who specialize in key techniques for statistical analysis of large-scale clinical data. Our team takes a leadership role in the development and application of methods for risk adjustment, survival analysis, hierarchical modeling, and complex censoring patterns that have been crucial to our success in quality measure development, performance evaluation, and clinical research.