Jason Guardino, a gastroenterologist and an assistant physician in chief at Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center, gives his perspective on how our guts have become front and center in the understanding of our overall health. For more from Guardino, check out “Mysteries of the Gut Instinct” in our July issue. Sign up for our newsletter and we’ll email you when it’s available online.
What’s the biggest change in your industry/area of focus in the past year?
The biggest change in our industry is the rise of very advanced endoscopic procedures to remove large colon polyps, such as Endoscopic Mucosal Resection (EMR). These types of procedures can eliminate the need for colon resection during surgery. These procedures are time intensive and take much skill — many of our physicians have been trained and certified by our national governing body in Chicago, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. Other areas of interest are the advancement of medications to treat entities such as Hepatitis C and inflammatory bowel disease.
What do you foresee as the biggest change on the horizon in the year to come?
We are living in an exciting world when it comes to the advances in treating Hepatitis C. We have medicines now that can actually cure Hepatitis C with a 95 percent success rate. In many years to come, it is conceivable that Hepatitis C will be eliminated much like smallpox was. We are in the process of screening baby boomers for Hepatitis C and getting them the curative therapy if indicated. Kaiser Permanente’s integration allows for this type of comprehensive screening and treatment.
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