Gastroenterology, Academic Medicine and a Changing Landscape

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The forces that are reshaping the delivery of health care through much of the developed world are especially acute within academic centers that carry the responsibility for delivering that care while advancing medical knowledge and ensuring well-trained physicians. Gastroenterology will not be spared any of those forces, and in some ways represents the leading edge of their impact. Though the dynamics vary within the context of the health-care delivery and scientific enterprise of individual countries, common elements are demands for greater accountability and transparency in how academic medical centers demonstrate their value while assuring broad access to their expertise. In the United States, underlying many forms of change in the payment scheme are the common elements that will increasingly place the risk for the cost of care on providers rather than on the payers, be it government or private, as has historically been true. At the same time, academic medical centers, with gastroenterology responsible for addressing the burden of digestive diseases, must remain the stem cells for health care integrating all their missions and providing the foundation of medical advances which will ultimately improve human welfare. What will academic gastroenterology units look like if they are able to effectively respond to these forces? Gastrointestinal (GI) divisions and faculty will own new roles including responsibility for system success in caring for patients. They will evolve their training programs to provide the next generation with skills needed to succeed, including the discipline of system improvement, team leadership and others. And there will be new models that will drive the organization of research that are not as conventionally self-contained within the gastroenterology units, but fostering research teams that have hubs and spokes. The vitality of GI divisions will depend on the willingness to seize ownership of the new value proposition of disease management ensuring that each patient achieves the best outcome with the most effective use of resources and endeavor within their systems to capture some of that value to invest in their training and research missions. In the course of that evolution, gastroenterology will be well served by rebalancing the dependence on existing modalities. If procedural gastroenterology becomes the sole value proposition, it will lead to an increasingly narrow view of the field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-60
Number of pages4
JournalDigestive Diseases
StatePublished - Sep 23 2015


  • Academic medical center
  • Gastroenterology
  • Health-care delivery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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