Gastrointestinal disorders encompass some of the most ordinary difficulties and some of the most ominous--pancreatic and liver cancers.
Digestive system symptoms are responsible for an estimated 35.9 million office visits annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These include approximately 14.5 million US adults diagnosed with ulcers, 7.95 million seeking help for constipation, and about 16 million annually who complain of abdominal pain, cramps, and spasms.
Gastrointestinal disorders encompass some of the most ordinary difficulties and some of the most ominous--pancreatic and liver cancers. Many of these patients require a referral and therefore, GI programs are this month's Clinical Centers of Excellence.
"I'd say 15 to 20 percent of my patients have some sort of GI complaint," says Salvatore Volpe, MD, of his internal medicine and pediatric practice in Staten Island, New York. For him, urgent GI referrals include Guaiac-positive stool tests, gallstones requiring endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, upper or lower GI bleeding, and newly diagnosed hepatitis B and C.
The centers we feature have active research protocols in diverse GI areas. These profiles provide physicians with a valuable tool when considering where to refer patients for diagnostic procedures and treatment of intractable, chronic GI disorders or serious disease.
Medical Economics editors have also gathered management and referral tips from the experts associated with the featured centers that may be useful when encountering some of the more common GI disorders in the primary care setting.
The GI centers were chosen based on a survey of gastroenterologists and were asked to provide patient statistics, research protocols and funding, GI areas of concentration, and information on other pertinent services.
We do not rank the centers relative to each other, but highlight what makes each one unique. We could not profile them all, but have included a list of the other Clinical Centers of Excellence identified by our surveys (see list, below).
Clinical Centers of Excellence
Advanstar Clinical Centers of Excellence
Institutions under consideration to be named Clinical Centers of Excellence are asked to self-report data, which is checked against publicly available information. Depending on the specialty, these criteria may include: