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An Online Portal To Aid Kidney Patients

Anxiety usually aggravates any disease. Patients suffering from chronic diseases are faced with uncertainty and have a number of questions related to their affliction.// Some may feel embarrassed to trouble others with their doubts.

Patients suffering from chronic kidney disease in Toronto, can expect to be linked to a state-of-the-art tool soon that will help them to involve themselves actively in their treatment.

This online patient portal will be tailored to answer the queries of 1,500 kidney patients treated by Grand River Hospital and the University Health Network in Toronto. This could help mean less trouble for the patients and the health-care system.

Research has shown that awareness of the disease and self-management, combined with early consultation of specialists and treatment, can slow down the advancement of the disease in pre-dialysis patients.

"The portal is really a personal health record so patients experience improved communication," said Claudette DeLenardo, director of the patient portal program at Grand River. "They have decreased anxiety, they're able to be better informed and in turn can better manage their care."

This kidney disease portal will allow the patients to self-monitor their symptoms and side effects and also enable them to get medication information and lab results. The portal will serve kidney patients who have not reached dialysis stage, said Patrick Gaskin, acting chief executive of Grand River.

"If we can make the intervention and keep people well and healthy and keep them from getting onto dialysis, then we are properly investing in the health-care system as opposed to the 'sickness care system,' " he said.

This service will be available for patient use from March 2007.

The portal program is limited to cancer and kidney patients for now. Information on other health aspects that affect kidney disease, including diabetes and cardiovasc ular disease will be available at the upcoming portal, DeLenardo said.

The aim of establishing the portal is to provide a wide-ranging, useful resource for patients who are eligible for access, Gaskin said.

"We want them actively engaged in their care," he said.

"For people with a chronic disease, they're on it forever. Even if you go for transplant, you're still in the system because of medications and (followup). It's a lifetime investment so a portal is a natural to be part of that arsenal of resources."


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