Establishing an integrated gastroenterology service between a medical center and the community

Yaron Niv, Ram Dickman, Zohar Levi, Gadi Neumann, Dorit Ehrlich, Haim Bitterman, Jacob Dreiher, Arnon Cohen, Doron Comaneshter, Eyran Halpern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


AIM: To combine community and hospital services in order to enable improvements in patient management, an integrated gastroenterology service (IGS) was established. METHODS: Referral patterns to specialist clinics were optimized; open access route for endoscopic procedures (including esophago-gastro-duodenoscopy, sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy) was established; family physicians' knowledge and confidence were enhanced; direct communication lines between experts and primary care physicians were opened. Continuing education, guidelines and agreed instructions for referral were promoted by the IGS. Six quality indicators were developed by the Delphi method, rigorously designed and regularly monitored. Improvement was assessed by comparing 2010, 2011 and 2012 indicators. RESULTS: An integrated delivery system in a specific medical field may provide a solution to a fragmented healthcare system impaired by a lack of coordination. In this paper we describe a new integrated gastroenterology service established in April 2010. Waiting time for procedures decreased: 3 mo in April 30th 2010 to 3 wk in April 30th 2011 and stayed between 1-3 wk till December 30th 2012. Average cost for patient's visit decreased from 691 to 638 NIS (a decrease of 7.6%). Six health indicators were improved significantly comparing 2010 to 2012, 2.5% to 67.5%: Bone densitometry for patients with inflammatory bowel disease, preventive medications for high risk patients on aspirin/NSAIDs, colonoscopy following positive fecal occult blood test, gastroscopy in Barrett's esophagus, documentation of family history of colorectal cancer, and colonoscopy in patients with a family history of colorectal cancer. CONCLUSION: Establishment of an IGS was found to effectively improve quality of care, while being cost-effective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2152-2158
Number of pages7
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 21 Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Community medicine
  • Direct referral
  • Endoscopy
  • Gastroenterology
  • Open access endoscopy


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