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Going With Your Gut

June 6, 2023

Improving your gut-brain connection with certified experts

Did you know: the nervous system that regulates our gut is often called the body’s second brain?

With a network using the same chemicals as the brain, a healthy gut turns food into nutrients, wards off viruses and communicates with the body to help maintain overall health and well-being. For those with poor gut health, issues may arise like abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation. These issues are common too, as an estimated 70 million people in the U.S. report suffering from digestive disease each day.

While an unhealthy gut may be uncomfortable, there are ways to help your gut health, including:

  • Staying hydrated
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Exercising regularly
  • Lowering your stress levels
  • Taking a prebiotic or probiotic
  • Changing your diet

However, when these changes don’t seem to be making a difference, it may be time to consult a digestive system specialist – known as a gastroenterologist. With 100 years of combined experience, many patients in the Quad Cities turn to Quad City Gastroenterology (QCG) when experiencing digestive issues.

With two office locations in Moline and Davenport, Quad City Gastroenterology’s board-certified gastroenterologists treat a wide variety of digestive issues, from the most common GI disorders like acid reflux to the most complex diseases like Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis.

But there’s another important reason to visit a gastroenterologist such as QCG – cancer screening. While there are usually no symptoms in the early stages of colorectal cancer, it is highly treatable if detected and diagnosed early through a routine screening like a colonoscopy. For patients over the age of 45, colonoscopies are recommended at 10-year intervals. High-risk patients, including those with family history, symptoms and certain lifestyles should screen earlier.

Demonstrating commitment to patient-centered care

When it comes to outpatient care, the physicians at QCG turn to Mississippi Valley Endoscopy Center (MVEC), located in Davenport, IA, to perform their procedures. Utilizing the latest technology including endoscopic ultrasound, colorectal cancer screenings and endoscopies in an outpatient setting allows patients to return home comfortability within one hour or so after their procedure.

Since opening in 2004, MVEC has provided convenient, comfortable care to thousands of patients across the Quad Cities area. Thanks to this high level of care, the center has earned its Endoscopy Unit Recognition Program (EURP) certification from the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE).

With only three endoscopy centers in Iowa achieving this certification, ASGE says this recognition honors GI endoscopy units that demonstrate outstanding commitment to delivering high-quality, safe, patient-centered care – to patients, to referring physicians, to payors and to the healthcare team itself.

“For us, it shows that our doctors and staff are doing the extra things that lead to better satisfaction and a better experience along the way,” Elisabeth Evangelista, MVEC manager, said. “We’re grateful to have the recognition, so our patients know that when they come to us, they get the very best care.”

After receiving its first certification in 2017, MVEC earned recertification this year.

Through the recertification process, gastroenterology teams get the education needed to build and maintain a culture of quality and safety in the facility. Over several months, Elisabeth led the management of the process compiling reports that include proving competencies for all staff in different areas like medication administration, infection prevention and bowel preps.

“Keeping those preps above standard increases our cancer detection rate among male and female patients,” Elisabeth said. “That means finding polyps that will turn into cancer if left alone.”

MVEC also filed reports for recertification on hospitalizations post-procedure and on colonoscopy withdrawal times. By following the six-minute standard, doctors are less likely to miss potentially cancerous polyps. Through the reporting process, MVEC also took a closer look at doctor-patient communications, confirming that doctors give timely updates to patients on their test results and next steps.

With the EURP recertification, MVEC team members are proud to tell patients about the work happening behind the scenes to give patients better experiences in a sometimes uncomfortable area of medicine.

“We understand that most people aren’t super excited to visit an endoscopy or gastroenterology center,” Evangelista said. “So, we work hard to make sure all our patients feel comfortable when they come here.”

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