SAN DIEGO — In this video from Digestive Disease Week, William D. Chey, MD, professor of medicine, and director of the GI Physiology Laboratory at University of Michigan Health System, discusses a state-of-the-art lecture he gave during the conference that highlighted how gastroenterologists, and even physicians, can keep to time and in turn, keep patients happy.
“I think we would all acknowledge [improving patient-provider interactions] is the cornerstone of taking care of our patients with various gastrointestinal conditions and increasingly it’s getting harder and harder to do so,” Chey told Healio Gastroenterology and Liver Disease. “Business moving from a ‘calling’ to more of a business. The electronic medical record, the fact that patients are a lot more educated and a lot more demanding in 2019 than they were 20 years ago, all these things get in the way of being able to establish a really firm, constructive patient-provider interaction.”
Chey gave an example of how physicians typically speak to patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Typically, Chey said, physicians tell patients IBS is a condition predicated on the presence of abdominal pain and altered bowel habits. Additionally, Chey said that the conversation usually involves informing the patient that the condition is not life-threatening, but there is no known cause, there really is not a cure, and that the patient will have to learn how to live with it.
“Really, what a hopeless message,” he said.
Instead, he said, physicians should ask their patients if the onset of symptoms occurred following an acute gastroenteritis even, such as food poisoning or traveler’s diarrhea.
Because, if a patient has post-infection IBS, Chey said, they have a different natural history and that approximately two-thirds of the conditions spontaneously resolve.
“What you can say to patients with post-infection IBS is, ‘you have a very specific variety of IBS, called post-infection IBS, it results from an infection which alters the permeability, the microbiome and the immune system in the GI tract to cause IBS symptoms,” he said. “The good news is that more than half of patients ... post-infection IBS will get better on their own over time.”
Different types of messages, as Chey alluded to with his example, can change how patients view the course of their condition and their lives.
“Instead of taking a patient’s hope away, we’re giving a patient hope,” he said. “And that’s what we should be doing as physicians.” – by Ryan McDonald
Chey W. Sp309. Presented at: Digestive Disease Week 2019; May 18-21; San Diego, California.
Disclosure: Chey reports financial ties to Allergan, Conti, IM Health, Ironwood, MyGiHealth, Nestle, QOL Medical, Ritter, Salix, Shire, True Self Foods, Volcant and Zespori.