Setting goals: 4 gastroenterologists on what they want to accomplish in 2016

Four gastroenterologists plan ahead and share their goals for the year ahead.

Ask a Gastroenterologist is a weekly series of questions posed to GI physicians around the country on business and clinical issues affecting the field of gastroenterology. We invite all gastroenterologists to submit responses.            

Next week's question: What has been your proudest moment as a gastroenterologist thus far in your career?

Please submit responses to Carrie Pallardy at by Thursday, Jan. 28, at 5 p.m. CST.

Noel R. Fajardo, MD, Las Vegas Gastroenterology: Colon cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide and accounts for eight percent of all cancer deaths. Colon cancer is a highly preventable disease, and performing a colonoscopy helps to detect and remove precancerous polyps before they grow into colon cancer. [I] use the Endochoice Fuse, an innovative, full spectrum endoscope that provides a 330-degree field of view as opposed to the 170-degree field provided by traditional scopes. The increased field of view allows the Endochoice Fuse to be up to 69 percent more effective at detecting adenomas, providing the patient with the highest level of care.

Julie Servoss, MD, MPH, Medical Director, Gastroenterology, Modernizing Medicine: Since I wear two professional hats as both a developer of GI-specific EHR software and as a medical educator, I'll share my lofty goals for each. My primary goal in the software developer capacity at Modernizing Medicine is to continue to support the integration of two best in breed EHR systems for gastroenterology. I also want to find new ways to help gastroenterologists increase their efficiency in the office and the ASC.

As Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion at the Florida Atlantic University Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, I hope to grow our pipeline programs to engage and inspire more of the youth in our community to pursue a career in medicine and research. And I hope to continue to find innovative ways to help our medical students learn how to maintain their humanity and connectedness with patients in the face of the rapidly changing landscape of healthcare. Personally, I think my family would say that my 2016 goal should be take 10 minutes each day to sit down and take a breather; be still. Our lives are wonderfully busy, but they always tell me that it's also important to enjoy the ride.

Nelson Spinetti, MD, Pediatric Gastroenterologist (Edinburg, Texas): To develop a feeding scale that prevents sudden infant death in infants, which [helps to] avoid infant illness as colic, reflux, acute life threatening event, etc. Also avoids hospitalizations, expensive medical evaluation and use of expensive infant formulas and medications side effects. The only need is getting this information out to the families.

Kevin E. Woods, MD, MPH, Chief, Interventional Endoscopy, Gastroenterology & Nutrition, Southeastern Regional Medical Center at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (Newnan, Ga.): My primary goal in 2016 is to increase the awareness around the new advances in the early detection and resection of gastrointestinal cancers, specifically regarding the applications of optical endomicroscopy and endoscopic surgical techniques.

All too often, in the management of digestive diseases , the time taken to efficiently diagnose, stage or treat a patient may mean the difference in time returning to work, time to treatment or missing the opportunity to detect a cancer at its earliest stage. In the fight to prevent deaths from GI cancers, time is an enemy we face every day. Efficiently connecting patients to advanced endoscopic technologies and non-surgical resection techniques becomes paramount given these new diagnostic tools allowing the same procedure diagnosis and treatment within a single session of endoscopy.

In March 2016, our new Center for Interventional Endoscopy, Informatics and Innovation at Southeastern Regional Medical Center at CTCA will begin to tackle this problem head on. Employing a number of state-of-the art technologies within one center, built in a digital integrated platform, the center will allow us to employ novel imaging and endoscopic surgical techniques to diagnose, treat and manage patients requiring endoscopy faster. Furthermore, powered by a prospective data capture and analytics platform, we may ultimately demonstrate that these efforts to improve patient access to endoscopic services can help close the time gap to help our patients to live longer and healthier lives.

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