The Difference Teamwork Can Make
Written by Wendy Lyman
My son recently recovered from emergency surgery to repair a bowel obstruction resulting from J-pouch torsion. In simpler terms, his intestines were all twisted and it was a mess that required being opened up when laparoscopic attempts failed. This twisting was a situation that took time to develop, and I cannot help wondering if consistent communication with an IBD team as symptoms presented could have prevented this trauma for my son.
In fact, in the IBDLyfe discussion forum we have seen posts about the desire for IBD clinics, where a team of GI specialists, such as the physician, dietician, nurse/physician assistant, therapist, and perhaps even an exercise coach, come together to provide appropriate support and care for the unique needs of patients with IBD. I always say that timing is everything, and now there is the GITrak app, available for both Android and iPhone.
Lyfebulb Patient Entrepreneur David Schoen and his team have recently launched this app, and although GITrak is still in its infant stages, Schoen’s plan for a dream team of experts, similar to those mentioned above, is actively in progress.
Schoen explained his philosophy of the body being one ecosystem; many elements come together to make it work well and as intended. To that end, GITrak starts with the dietician, who builds a relationship with the user by learning about the individual’s lifestyle and finding a plan that works best. The next phase will be to sign the user up with the doctor, the therapist, and the physician’s assistant, who all work in tandem with the dietician to comprise the IBD team.
Schoen explained how most patients only see their GI for emergencies. The goal with GITrak is to create an environment of well care and to provide a team who checks in with the user and is accessible when the patient feels even a bit “off”. The team would have the user’s medical records and connect with the patient’s actual physicians. GITrak is presently accepted by a few major health insurance companies, and Schoen assured me that the goal is that it will soon be accepted by all.
As GITrak moves through its development stages, we could soon have real access to the specialists who understand our needs. And maybe crises like the one my son experienced will be avoided. Hope never hurts.