March 28, 2008

GI lab expands hours, adds weekend service

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Todd Giorgio, Ph.D.

GI lab expands hours, adds weekend service

To increase patient access and aid prevention of colorectal cancers, the GI Lab has expanded its hours of operation. Formerly open weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., the lab now remains open on weekdays until 5 p.m. and is also open every other Saturday morning.

People need a screening colonoscopy at age 50, and people with elevated risk need the test before age 50, said Michael Vaezi, M.D., professor of Medicine and GI clinical director.

In the past two years the GI Lab has increased endoscopic procedures by 60 percent, from 8,000 per year to 13,500.

And yet, among patients followed by a Vanderbilt Medical Group (VMG) clinician, only about 50 percent of those who meet the criteria for screening colonoscopy have been tested, Vaezi said.

“We want to meet this standard of preventive care 100 percent of the time. For people who may be less able to get away from work, we want to make it easier for them to do the right thing,” he said.

David Posch, CEO of The Vanderbilt Clinic and executive director of VMG, said expanded hours are an important means of improving patient access.

“Expanded hours can help relieve pent-up demand and ease access to VMG services. As we seek to grow our clinic capacity, we'll be looking closely at expanding hours to evenings and weekends in more clinics,” Posch said.

To refer patients to the GI Lab, call 322-1881.