A new study shows that Wisconsin’s only multidisciplinary clinic for lupus patients with suspected kidney disease cut the time to diagnosis by 40% and improved other measures of health care quality for those patients.
The study looked at outcomes for patients with lupus nephritis, a complication of lupus in which the body’s immune system attacks the kidneys. Patients with lupus nephritis have a tenfold higher risk of end stage kidney disease and are 26 times more likely to die than same-aged peers. Lupus can strike anyone but is primarily a disease of young women ages 15 to 44. Women of color are more likely to be affected.
UW Health opened Wisconsin’s first multidisciplinary lupus clinic in early 2018. Along with her nephrology colleagues, Dr. Shivani Garg, assistant professor of medicine at UW School of Medicine and Public Health and a rheumatologist at UW Health, wanted to see if having a racially concordant team that includes physicians, pharmacists and social workers available to a patient made a difference in the time it took to diagnose the disease and whether the approach improved care.