(HealthDay News) — For hemodialysis patients, use of an online portal is associated with an increased likelihood of receiving a kidney transplant at 4 or 5 years, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

Polina V. Zmijewski, MD, from Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, and colleagues conducted a retrospective chart review of 264 patients in 2 outpatient dialysis centers associated with a 719-bed tertiary care academic medical center to examine the effects of the use of web-based applications allowing patients to track their medical care. Overall, 38 patients were considered active portal users.

The researchers found that 9% of portal users and 9% of nonusers were recipients of kidney transplants at 3 years after initiation of hemodialysis. At 4 years, 23% and 13% of portal users and nonusers, respectively, were transplanted, while at 5 years, 40% and 14% of users and nonusers, respectively, were transplanted. The divergence of the curves was statistically significant; the greatest difference was seen at 5 years. There was an association noted for an increased number of logins per month with shortened time to renal transplantation.

“Online patient portals are therefore a valuable tool that can be used to encourage compliance with dialysis treatment goals and positively affect patient clinical outcomes,” the authors write.

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Zmijewski PV, Decroce-Movson E, Reinert SE, et al. Online Patient Portal Use and Time to Renal Transplantation in Patients on Hemodialysis. J Am Coll Surg. doi: 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2019.11.013

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