Simon Fraser University professor Scott Lear and his research team have developed a website to help patients living with diabetes, heart, kidney and lung disease manage their health — all from their own homes.
And now the university is inviting B.C. patients to participate in an ongoing study tracking its use.
“Chronic disease rates are higher in small urban and rural areas, yet access to care is limited to larger cities,” notes Lear. “Patients from remote areas often end up traveling long distances to receive care, sometimes at great time and financial costs.
“With monitoring through the Internet, patients can be better supported to manage medications and symptoms and to follow preventive strategies at home.”
Lear says his program, My Health Connect, is designed to help patients keep track of their own health, and receive co-ordinated care through a team-based approach between the My Health Connect nurse, patient and their local physicians.
My Health Connect tracks symptom data and measurements such as blood pressure, weight and sugar levels.
Using a computer algorithm, if a value falls outside an individual’s normal range, an alert is sent to a designated nurse, who telephones the patient and provides counseling and advice on whether to see a doctor. Since patients manually enter the data, no specialized equipment is necessary. The program also provides access to dietician and exercise specialist support.
Given the program’s co-ordination with the patient’s doctor, it’s anticipated it will prevent disease progression, reduce the need for patient travel for care and keep patients out of hospital. Early studies have indicated that disease risk factors can be reduced through Internet-based programs.
Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, Lear is seeking additional patients to participate in the ongoing study.
SFU is Canada’s top-ranked comprehensive university and one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 120,000 alumni in 130 countries.
For more information on the study, contact Josh MacIver at 1-855-444-1265.