The COVID-19 pandemic has played a major role in the medical field and has altered the lives of patients’ throughout the world. Commonwealth Diagnostics International (CDI) co-hosted Epicured’s Partners in Health November 2020 Clinical Webinar featuring a panel of Gastroenterology experts who explored trends and best practices for diagnosing and treating functional GI Disorders in a COVID-19 world. The webinar stressed the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to treatment.
Johanna Ruddy, MSEd, executive director of The Rome Foundation, served as moderator. Panelists included Dr. Irving E. Ingraham, Jr., MD (Gastroenterology Specialist with North Shore Physicians Group and North Shore Medical Center in Peabody, MA), Tamara Duker Freuman, MS, RD, CDN (New York City-based Registered Dietician and Author), and Sarah Kinsinger, PhD, ABPP (Director of Behavioral Medicine for Digestive Health and Associate Professor at Loyola University Medical Center, Illinois).
Diagnosing and treating functional GI disorders in a COVID-19 world includes helping patients cope with stress, eating and anxiety. “Right now, there are weird and abnormal eating patterns. It’s hard for patients to be more structured in their eating. There’s no normal day anymore” explained Freuman. She finds it crucial to listen to patients as they describe symptoms, so she can properly provide a solution.
One key trend discussed is the rise of gastrointestinal psychology. “Patients are interested in non-pharmacological treatments,” said Kinsinger. The panel concluded GI psychology will serve as the third pillar when treating patients. This in addition to traditional GI medical treatments and tailored nutrition plans. “Patients are really receptive and open to GI psychology treatments, which might include gut-directed hypnotherapy,” Kinsinger continued.
Another notable trend is the use of telemedicine by providers and patients. Technology and at-home testing by companies like CDI are making treatments more widely available. “People have adapted to the video format very fast and it’s a great step forward,” said Dr. Ingraham. Each panelist agreed that they have been able to reach more patients in a more efficient manner using telehealth. “Patients have better access than they ever have,” Dr. Ingraham elaborated.
Each expert stressed the importance of communication with all providers involved in a patient’s care. “Sometimes you have to call a provider in order to discuss the patient. This helps the relationship become two-way,” said Freuman, who has built a trusted network of referrals for her patients.
“We are moving forward toward a coordinated approach to treatment versus segmented” concluded Ruddy. Due to COVID-19 GI patients and their providers are constantly encountering new challenges. It’s important that all parties involved stay engaged in order to achieve the best standard of care.
Epicured is a healthcare company that knows food is medicine. As the only low FODMAP and gluten-free meal delivery service, Epicured gives customers an easy way to eat healthy, heal, and feel great, offering delicious meals that are prescribed by doctors and dietitians, and prepared by Michelin-star chefs. The diverse, seasonal menu is designed to restore digestive health, and is clinically recommended for IBS, Crohn’s, Colitis, SIBO celiac, and non-celiac gluten-sensitivity. The gourmet-quality meals are crafted by a world-class culinary team. Meals are always prepared fresh with natural ingredients and then delivered ready-to-heat and enjoy. There is no cooking required! Delivery is available from Boston to DC and everywhere in between with national expansion plans on the horizon. Epicured was founded in 2016 by Richard Bennett, healthcare and banking entrepreneur, who serves as CEO, and by Renee Cherkezian, RN, a nurse-turned-chef who guides menu development.
About Commonwealth Diagnostics International, Inc.
Commonwealth Diagnostics International, Inc. (CDI) is an innovative GI health company providing industry-leading diagnostic tests and tools to help physicians identify and diagnose common sources of digestive distress and functional gastrointestinal ailments. Focused on our patient-centric principles, our cost-effective portfolio of diagnostic products results in expedited treatment, better patient outcomes, and robust cost savings for the healthcare delivery system. Our expansive portfolio includes: non-invasive at-home breath testing kits for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), Intestinal Methane Overgrowth (IMO), and carbohydrate malabsorption disorders, as well as IBSchek, a proprietary capillary collection test for Irritable Bowel Syndrome ( IBS-D/M), and MyTotalHealth, a cloud-based healthcare platform that enables patients to manage and understand their symptoms for a range of conditions. Operating out of our CLIA-certified laboratory, and as an FDA registered, ISO 13485 certified medical device manufacturer, we pride ourselves on our partnerships with some of the most industry-leading health systems, hospitals, and private practices worldwide.