Gastroenterology is 'really warming up' to telehealth, Vivante Health CEO says

Gastroenterology has the second highest telemedicine usage of any adult speciality, according to Doximity's "State of Telemedicine Report."

Bill Snyder, CEO of Vivante Health, a digital health company, spoke with Becker's on June 29 to discuss where telehealth stands in gastroenterology and where it's headed.

Vivante Health created GIThrive, a gastroenterology telehealth platform.

Editor's note: Responses have been edited lightly for length and clarity.

Question: What's the temperature of telehealth usage in GI right now?

Bill Snyder: It's really warming up. There's a ton of increased interest from individuals and from large employers and health plans as well.

Q: What are some of the benefits and drawbacks of telehealth in GI?

BS: Unfortunately a lot of these conditions are difficult for people to talk about because you're talking about symptoms that happen in the bathroom. They have an unfair stigma associated with these conditions. A huge opportunity and benefit is it provides a safe space for people to start having that conversation especially because you can do it through different means of communication. It might be a video chat or messaging back and forth with a care provider. That's a huge benefit — that people can have that access.

In addition to giving people the opportunity to feel empowered and start that conversation, it also provides the virtual access component. For people who maybe have limited access to providers, it's a great way for people everywhere to access this type of care.

I don't see specific drawbacks related to GI care as it relates to telehealth. In virtual care and healthcare in general, I always think there's an opportunity to improve how we're sharing information. So ensuring the information we're capturing in conversations with the members [is shared with] other care providers is really important to facilitate that kind of bidirectional information sharing so that any care team member has a holistic and personalized view of the individual.

Q: Looking toward the future, how do you see telehealth being used in the GI space?

BS: I think it will continue to grow because we're seeing increased prevalence of GI conditions across the U.S. The need will just continue to grow. There's a great opportunity to continue to empower people, to really show symptom reduction and get people feeling better. [As well as] to improve things like medication adherence and to avoid things like people ending up in the emergency room. That continued access to information and a personalized care team is going to be more and more important.

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