Link Between Obesity and Kidney Disease Calls for Urgent Outreach

With normalized data, payers can reach at-risk members with speed and accuracy.

Adults with type 2 diabetes and obesity may have an increased risk for diabetic kidney disease, according to a study1 published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

The findings linked higher Body Mass Index (BMI) to an increased risk for diabetic nephropathy and a lower estimated glomerular filtration rate, with the effects most pronounced among women2. BMI is a calculation that takes a person’s weight and height into account to measure body size, and obesity is defined as a BMI of 30.0 or more.

The study underscores the importance of healthy lifestyle interventions that help maintain a normal weight as well as monitoring kidney function more closely in members with type 2 diabetes.

In addition to increasing the risk of diabetic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) among diabetics, obesity is a major health issue that’s associated with a higher risk for dozens of serious maladies including cardiovascular disease and up to 20% of adult cancers.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 42.4% of adults aged 18 and older in the U.S. have obesity. Globally, obesity is one of the top five leading causes of mortality, along with high blood pressure, tobacco use, high blood glucose, and physical inactivity.

The high prevalence of obesity costs Americans $147 billion each year because of higher out-of-pocket costs for healthcare relative to those who maintain a healthy weight. In fact, medical costs are $1,429 higher each year for those with obesity.

Updated outreach and education are a priority

Payers can help people with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar as well as their weight by engaging them early and often with targeted outreach. Providing this at-risk member population with personalized education and support focusing on medication adherence, kidney function monitoring, and weight management will help improve outcomes and reduce costs.

The better your data, the better the results

One of the biggest issues hampering effective outreach efforts is a lack of high-quality clinical data. In a recent assessment of a major national health plan, conducted by data curation and enrichment leader Verinovum, only 14% of the raw clinical data had the proper structure and relevant data elements to support targeted and timely disease management strategies. After Verinovum curated and enriched the data, more than 89% was usable, which enabled the health plan to accurately identify chronic conditions among its members and proactively intervene with evidence-based disease management strategies.

The issue of dirty data is widespread and continues to prevent payers from optimizing their efforts to engage and educate at-risk members on diabetes, obesity, and many other chronic and costly disease states. Payers are effectively forfeiting millions of dollars in annualized savings by reaching only a fraction of at-risk members.

Fortunately, Verinovum has a singular focus — curating and enriching clinical data to make it usable for payers, providers, and the vendors who support health information technology (IT) solutions.

Timely identification of at-risk members is key

Verinovum’s InFocus CohortSM solution empowers payers by curating near real-time data to better understand at-risk members and extract timely insights. InFocus Cohort provides a daily list of members diagnosed with diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and other disease states to help your team:

  • Intervene with at-risk members earlier
  • Identify and understand health trends
  • Focus and act on the disease states that have the strongest financial impact

Learn how our InFocus Cohort solution can help your organization identify high-risk members for targeted outreach and follow-up.

1 Monostra, M. Obesity may increase diabetic kidney disease risk, especially in women. Healio. 2022 February 22.

2 Jingru Lu, Xiaoshuang Liu, Song Jiang, Shuyan Kan, Yu An, Chunxia Zheng, Xiang Li, Zhihong Liu, Guotong Xie, Body Mass Index and Risk of Diabetic Nephropathy: A Mendelian Randomization Study, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 107, Issue 6, June 2022, Pages 1599–1608.