Objective: To determine the value of a biomedical system dynamics (BMSD) approach for optimization of anemia management in long-term hemodialysis patients because elevated hemoglobin levels and high doses of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) may negatively affect survival in this population. Patients and Methods: A model of erythropoiesis and its response to ESAs on the basis of a BMSD method (Mayo Clinic Anemia Management System [MCAMS]) was developed. Thereafter, an open-label, prospective, nonrandomized practice quality improvement project was performed with retrospective analysis in 8 community-based outpatient hemodialysis facilities. All prevalent hemodialysis patients seen from January 1, 2007, through December 31, 2010 (300-342 patients per month), were included with darbepoetin as the ESA. The primary outcome was the percentage of patients who attained the desired hemoglobin level. Secondary outcome measures included the percentage of patients with hemoglobin values above the desired range and mean dose of darbepoetin used. Results: The 3 treatment periods were (1) standard ESA protocol in 2007, (2) transition to the MCAMS (2008 to June 2009), and (3) stability period with the MCAMS used in all hemodialysis facilities (2009 to 2010). In the first 6 months of 2007, 69% of patients were in the desired range and 26% were above the range. In comparison, during the first 5 months of 2010, 83% were in and 6% were above the range (P<.001). The mean monthly darbepoetin dose per patient decreased from 304 mg in 2007 to 173 mg by the second half of 2009 (P<.001). Conclusion: With the introduction of the MCAMS, more patients had hemoglobin levels in the desired range and fewer patients exceeded the target range, with a concomitant 40% reduction in darbepoetin use.
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