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Online forum available for health support
An online medical forum for folks living with diabetes, heart, kidney and lung disease can be at the fingertips of Cowichanians.
Simon Fraser University professor Scott Lear and his research team's My Health Connect was established for patients living throughout B.C.
They're currently looking for participants in the Cowichan Valley.
"At present, we have patients involved in a variety of areas throughout the island, but not from the Cowichan Valley area," stated research coordinator Kaitey Vincent. "We are actively recruiting here and are looking for interested individuals to become involved."
Vincent said the program is available to residents living with two or more of the following five conditions: congestive heart failure, ischemic heart disease, diabetes, COPD, and chronic kidney disease.
"Chronic disease rates are higher in small urban and rural areas, yet access to care is limited to larger cities," Lear said in a press release. "Patients from remote areas often end up traveling long distances to receive care, sometimes at great time and financial costs."
Developed in collaboration with the province’s health authorities and currently undergoing study throughout the province My Health Connect tracks symptom data and measurements such as blood pressure, weight and sugar levels.
It is also monitored by a nurse.
"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," a press release states. "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 coordination with the patient’s doctor, My Health Connect is set up to prevent disease progression, reduce the need for patient travel for care and keep patients out of hospital.
It's funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.
Anyone interested in the program can contact Vincent at 1 (604)-806-8242 ext. 68242 or toll free 1-855-444-1265.