The Southern Alberta Renal Program (SARP) database was developed to respond to an urgent need for local information on clinical outcomes, laboratory information, and health care costs, and to enable our local renal program to monitor the implementation of established clinical practice guidelines. The database captures detailed demographic, clinical, and laboratory information and is unique by also capturing comorbidity, health-related quality of life and costing information for patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in southern Alberta, storing the information in one common database. By collecting information on patient comorbidity, health outcomes and costs, the SARP database has enabled many quality assurance initiatives as well as research opportunities for projects involving patients with ESRD. Due to the availability of links with other available local clinical and administrative databases, information is collected with a minimal need for manual data entry. This type of database is a method by which health programs could improve the quality of patient care. Programs caring for patients with chronic medical conditions such as ESRD should examine how computer databases could assist in clinical care and improve the efficiency with which that care is delivered to their patients.