Using the Nephrology Referral Form in Italian primary care to improve the care pathway of patients with anemia or other complications related to chronic kidney disease: survey findings


  • Giuseppe Pompilio Health Economics, Outcomes Research and Market Access, ISHEO - Integrated Strategies for Health Enhancing Outcomes, Rome - Italy
  • Francesca Pia Chiara Leone Stakeholder Engagement, ISHEO - Integrated Strategies for Health Enhancing Outcomes, Rome - Italy
  • Marco Gullì ISHEO - Integrated Strategies for Health Enhancing Outcomes
  • Davide Integlia ISHEO - Integrated Strategies for Health Enhancing Outcomes, Rome - Italy



Anemia, Chronic kidney disease, General practitioners, Nephrology Referral Form, Questionnaire


Introduction: Anemia is a potentially reversible condition in early chronic kidney disease (CKD) that requires timely intervention. General practitioners (GPs) play a crucial role in recognizing CKD. A new Nephrology Referral Form (NRF) was developed and tested in the Italian setting.

Methods: This mixed-methods survey, conducted between 2021 and 2022, introduced the NRF through focus group discussions involving a scientific committee. The NRF was tested in a 6-month trial involving 24 GPs each from Lazio and Puglia regions. GPs provided feedback on the use of the NRF in clinical practice through a questionnaire sent via Microsoft Form. The data were analyzed descriptively.

Results: After 6 months, 41.67% of the GPs were using the NRF at least once a week. Diabetes mellitus and hypertension were common triggers for NRF assessments. GPs overwhelmingly agreed (96%) on the NRF’s utility in identifying CKD cases, with 92% citing its effectiveness in diagnosing well-defined cases. The NRF facilitated specialist referrals, with 83% of GPs reporting increased referrals compared to the prior 6 months. Feedback underscored the NRF’s positive impact, suggesting improvements such as additional referral centers, regional/national networks, enhanced GP training, and increased collaboration.

Conclusion: GPs regularly used the NRF to identify and diagnose cases of CKD, streamlining the referral process and increasing referrals to specialists. Feedback emphasized the NRF’s positive impact and highlighted its potential as a valuable tool for enhancing early CKD detection, interventions, and fostering multidisciplinary management in primary care for better patient outcomes.


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How to Cite

Pompilio, G., Leone, F. P. C., Gullì, M., & Integlia, D. (2024). Using the Nephrology Referral Form in Italian primary care to improve the care pathway of patients with anemia or other complications related to chronic kidney disease: survey findings. AboutOpen, 11(1), 37–41.



Original research articles


Received 2024-03-14
Accepted 2024-04-24
Published 2024-05-15