In 2013-2015, we conducted point-of-care screening for hypertension, diabetes and chronic kidney disease in rural and remote Indigenous communities in Manitoba, Canada. In this study, we aimed to determine whether optimal follow-up care was provided, defined as proportion of individuals with appropriate kidney disease laboratory testing, medication prescriptions and physician visits.
We linked screening data from participants to provincial administrative data sets to evaluate whether frequencies of laboratory testing, prescriptions of disease-modifying medications, and primary care and nephrology visits differed in the 18 months before and after screening. We also conducted a propensity score matching analysis to compare outcomes between screened and unscreened adults.
Of 1353 adults who received the screening intervention and who had complete administrative data available, 44% were at risk of kidney failure at screening. Among these individuals, frequencies of comprehensive laboratory testing (estimated glomerular filtration rate and urine albumin to creatinine ratio) improved by 17.0% (95% confidence interval [CI] 11.5 to 22.5), anti-hyperglycemic medications improved by 4.4% (95% CI 1.0 to 7.8), and nephrology visits for participants meeting referral criteria improved by 5.9% (95% CI 3.4 to 8.5). We observed significant improvements in laboratory testing, antihyperglycemic medications and nephrology visits in the screened group compared with the 1:1 matched comparison group.
Point-of-care screening programs in rural and remote Indigenous communities are adaptable methods for increasing awareness, monitoring risk and treating chronic diseases. Interventions such as the development of a national screening program could improve chronic disease care in high-risk populations.