Online 'coach' gives GI patients virtual support between doctor visits

By John Murphy, MDLinx
Published June 1, 2016

Key Takeaways

A new interactive health website aims to support patients with gastrointestinal disorders by bridging the gap between office visits and helping them to comply with their doctors’ dietary, medication, and other treatment plans. The site was unveiled May 21, 2016 at Digestive Disease Week 2016 in San Diego, CA.

The engaging, patient-friendly website is personified by the positive-minded avatar Gastro Girl, and goes by the same name.

“Gastro Girl is committed to leveraging the latest technology to give patients access to the full ecosystem of digestive health expertise and connect them virtually with the critical support they need to effectively manage their health in partnership with their physicians,” said Jacqueline Gaulin, Founder and CEO of Gastro Girl, based in Rockville, MD.

To provide patients with accessible and ongoing support between doctor visits, the site combines three key features:

  • Telehealth coaching and nutritional counseling via a cloud-based, state-of-the-art, HIPAA-compliant telemedicine platform that gives patients access to registered dietitians and health coaches who have specific expertise with gastrointestinal problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, and food sensitivities.

  • Online support community that features expert insights and private support groups led by digestive health experts and GI nutrition specialists.

  • Digital health journal in which patients can document, track, and describe their symptoms, mood, health status, and what they eat. Participants can personalize their journal (using pictures, video or audio recordings, or written journal entries) according to their preference.

For health care providers, the platform offers a comprehensive cloud telemedicine suite that includes secure video, end-to-end practice management tools (like scheduling, document sharing, and billing), and other capabilities and workflow solutions designed for virtual patient engagement, noted Ms. Gaulin, who is also the former Director of Communications and Digital Engagement for the American College of Gastroenterology.

“Gastro Girl provides all the elements needed for individuals with chronic digestive health symptoms and conditions to obtain up-to-date information, to take control, and be coached in the process,” said the site’s Chief Medical Advisor Douglas A. Drossman, MD, President of the Drossman Center for the Education and Practice of Biopsychosocial Care LLC and founder of the non-profit Rome Foundation, in Chapel Hill, NC.

The platform is now live for patients and practitioners at and on Twitter @gastrogirl.

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