Growing up as a science-minded individual in Delhi, India, Dinesh Chatoth, MD, felt he had two career choices: engineering or medicine. “There were two options, so it was pretty easy to choose,” he explains. “I knew I was interested in healthcare, so I jumped right into medical school.” More than 30 years later, Dr. Chatoth is a respected nephrologist, or kidney doctor, currently serving as the associate chief medical officer for Fresenius Kidney Care.
Becoming a nephrologist wasn’t a straight path for Dr. Chatoth. “Nephrology wasn’t on my radar,” he says. After completing medical school in India, Dr. Chatoth came to the United States in 1991 to begin his residency in internal medicine, a discipline that largely wasn’t available in India. During his residency, he decided to explore nephrology.
“Nephrology is the most difficult specialty out there because it's so complicated. It's a lot more intense than most other internal medicine specialties,” Dr. Chatoth explains. He wanted to challenge himself before settling into what he thought would be his specialty moving forward, cardiology.
During his time learning about nephrology, another nephrologist mentored Dr. Chatoth, eventually changing his perspective on kidney medicine. Dr. Chatoth went on to become a practicing nephrologist in Atlanta, Georgia, where he ran a practice with 16 other providers.
Dr. Chatoth loved practicing nephrology. “I was very happy taking care of patients,” he recalls. He particularly liked helping patients explore home dialysis options as opposed to coming to dialysis centers several times a week. Dr. Chatoth’s experience with a large home dialysis population in his practice caused Frank Maddux, MD, global chief medical officer for Fresenius Medical Care, to reach out. Dr. Maddux was interested in growing home dialysis and wanted Dr. Chatoth’s expertise.
“I thought it was an interesting challenge,” Dr. Chatoth recalls. Still, he didn’t immediately make the leap from clinical practice to working for Fresenius Kidney Care full-time. He began working part-time for Fresenius Kidney Care while maintaining his practice before transitioning out of patient care.
After six years with Fresenius Kidney Care, Dr. Chatoth is both pleased with the work he’s done so far and excited about projects in the future. “What I'm most proud of is that we are beginning to change the culture and the mindset around home dialysis within Fresenius Kidney Care,” he says. In the last six years, the number of home dialysis patients has doubled thanks to a number of different factors, including changes to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and increased interest and education in home dialysis options.
He continues, “When I joined, about 7.5 percent of our patients were on home dialysis. Now we're at about 16 percent.”
Dr. Chatoth also notes that while this progress is positive, there’s still room for growth. He’s working with Fresenius Kidney Care to meet the target of 25 percent of our dialysis patients on home therapy by 2025.
As Dr. Chatoth continues to work with Fresenius Kidney Care, he’s excited to find more projects to aid kidney patients. One area he’s interested to work in is finding ways to breach barriers to care due to health inequities. “The disparities in care are very visible in the chronic kidney care space, especially in dialysis patients,” he explains. Additionally, Dr. Chatoth is passionate about taking care of the emotional as well as the physical well-being of patients and providers alike.
Whatever he does with Fresenius Kidney Care, Dr. Chatoth is confident he’ll continue to make a positive impact on the chronic kidney disease community and will continue to take on the challenge of improving patient care. “One thing I like about our approach is in the end, we care about our patients,” he says. “We want what's best for our patients and that never changes.”