Letter from the Digestive Health Medical Directors
The Digestive Health Program aims to optimize care by adopting best practices, using multidisciplinary communications and promoting a culture of personalized care in a cost-effective way.
The field of gastroenterology is rapidly evolving, driven by innovations in imaging, computer technology and biomedical engineering. PAMF is at the forefront of these innovations, using some of the most advanced equipment for endoscopic imaging. Our board-certified gastroenterologists have the training and experience to perform some of the most intricate endoscopic procedures available today. The use of minimally invasive endoscopic techniques allows for accurate diagnosis, staging and treatment of benign and malignant tumors. Cysts and other fluid collections in or adjacent to the gastrointestinal tract can easily be treated under the guidance of endoscopic ultrasound. These can now be drained internally without surgery or external catheters. Narrowing or blockages in the intestinal tract due to cancerous tumors can be treated with placement of self-expanding metal stents, allowing patients to eat normally. Stones in the biliary tract can be shattered with the use of endoscopic laser devices and then removed without invasive surgery. Use of miniature capsule cameras now allows for visualization of the entire intestinal tract.
Advances in the field of genomics and molecular medicine have revolutionized treatment of gastrointestinal infections and diseases. For example, the DNA fingerprints of tumors are routinely used to tailor cancer therapy. New treatments for hepatitis B and C virus infections can benefit most individuals with these conditions. Monoclonal antibodies, developed through bioengineering processes, have revolutionized treatment of debilitating conditions such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
The gastroenterology program at PAMF has begun collecting data that demonstrates excellence in care. This report includes quality metrics data for colonoscopy, one of the most common procedures in medical practice. It shows that gastroenterologists at PAMF far exceed the U.S. national benchmarks for quality and safety in colonoscopy performance. It also highlights the importance of collecting data and using it to continually improve the quality of care.
The goal of our highly skilled team of physicians is to provide timely and excellent patient care. Our gastroenterologists are part of a larger multidisciplinary team, including primary care physicians, surgeons, oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists and radiologists. This collaborative approach to disease management allows our patients to receive comprehensive care, tailored to their needs by physicians with expertise in the field.
Thank you for taking the time to review this report. We hope it gives you a clear picture of how our best-care practices translate into measurable digestive health outcomes.
Geoffrey Bernstein, M.D.
Sanjay Ramrakhiani, M.D.
Brennan Scott, M.D.
Co-Directors, Digestive Health Program
Palo Alto Medical Foundation