Mass General to build virtual portal to educate Down syndrome patients

A new virtual portal will help Massachusetts General Hospital educate patients with Down syndrome who may not have easy access to information or to a primary care physician.

The tool will address a nationwide shortage of Down syndrome clinics, according to a report from the Boston Herald.

"It's really going to transform the way we're able to deliver healthcare to people with Down syndrome and other disability populations," Brian Skotko, M.D., co-director of the MGH Down Syndrome Program, told the publication. "The modern day primary care physician maybe only has one or two patients with Down syndrome, and it's unreasonable to expect them to stay up to date on research for the conditions of all of their patients."

The portal will be built with the help of a $2.1 million grant received by MGH and will provide participants with fact sheets and webinars. It also can help users make primary care appointments. The trial for the platform will include 200 people and will start next summer.

What's more, the tool could help diagnose health conditions in patients with Down syndrome, the report added. Those could include sleep apnea, celiac disease and thyroid issues.

Tailoring informational portals to patients, especially those with specific conditions, can be a great asset--especially when online health information can be inaccurate or misleading.

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