What's next for GI tech?

Robotics, artificial intelligence and other technologies have made waves in the gastroenterology sector. These innovations have made minimally invasive procedures more accessible, treatment and detection more successful and increase efficiency in procedures. 

So what is next when it comes to GI technology?

Here are five of the latest innovations with the potential to radically change GI care, treatment and more:

1. Artificial intelligence. In a randomized trial published in the journal Gastroenterology, three Italian research centers found that computer-aided polyp detection increases adenoma detection rates over high-definition colonoscopy alone. 

"I've been doing this for a long time and [gastroenterology] has changed dramatically in the last 10 years," Sheldon Taub, MD, a gastroenterologist at Jupiter (Fla.) Medical Center, told Becker's. "I anticipate further change in the next 10 years, or certainly a lot more. Artificial intelligence — I'm not smart enough to know where it's going to play out, but it's certainly going to have a role in the decision-making. It will have a role with radiology, with pathology and certainly with endoscopy."

2. Peroral endoscopic myotomy. POEM procedures are considered minimally invasive and used to treat esophageal motility disorders, particularly achalasia, according to a news release from practice management organization United Digestive. It has comparable results to surgery, which has traditionally been the best way to treat the condition.

3. "Candy Cane" endoscopic procedures. This procedure removes a problematic portion of the patient's small bowel using a repurposed endoscopic device without any incisions. This is followed by a second procedure in which a channel for food is created. Both procedures are done without the need for traditional surgery by using an endoscope and other FDA-approved devices.

4. Digital digestive health platforms. Gastroenterologist Sarah Robbins, MD, launched a platform designed to help patients improve their digestive health. Well Sunday is an online hub of resources and information for clients, including educational materials, interactive activities and courses. It is tailored to patients with GI issues including irritable bowel syndrome, celiac and other gastrointestinal illnesses. 

"Once my office practice reached a waitlist of over three years, I knew I needed to find a solution that would allow me to support many more people effectively," Dr. Robbins said in a news release. "With this in mind, I created Well Sunday to provide easy-to-digest, science-backed advice for people looking to better their GI health." 

5. Hybrid care models. Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic and digital platform Ayble Health partnered to offer a hybrid digestive care model to patients. The care model matches patients with virtual, in-person or combined virtual and in-person care depending on acuity and need. Due to the fluctuation of digestive symptoms faced by many gastroenterology patients, the hybrid care offerings aim to improve outcomes and costs for those suffering from digestive diseases.

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