Get colonoscopy prescreenings over the phone

September 28, 2012 4:52:18 PM PDT
It's a procedure that most people dread, getting a colonoscopy. It can be uncomfortable, but it can also be a lifesaver.

Scheduling an appointment can be a pain, too, often involving visits to two or three doctors before the screening. But there's a new program that has streamlined the process.

Director of Direct Access Colonoscopy Connie Gorman saves patients time by prescreening them for a colonoscopy over the phone. The prescreening takes 30 minutes or less.

"I'll say, OK and we're all scheduled and I'll look forward to seeing you on such and such a date, and they're like, 'That's it? I don't have to do anything?'" Gorman said.

Gorman's sister decided to have her first colonoscopy this way.

"I don't want to take that much time away from work so it was easier to do it this way, just to call in and make the arrangements and come into the hospital the day of," Nancy Fleming said.

Many who hit 50 put off this screening test, in part because it takes too many days away from work.

"You had to go to your primary care physician to find a GI doctor, then once you found a GI doctor you'd call them and you'd have to have another appointment on another day to see the GI doctor, then you set up the colonoscopy," Gorman said.

They've already had a number of patients who were not willing to make three trips to get their colonoscopy. But when they heard about Direct Access Colonoscopy and found out it was only one day off work, they decided to get the screening test.

Even Dr. Edgar Martinez who works there got his colonoscopy through the program. But it's not for everyone.

"Those patients with complicated medical histories, then they need to be seen," Dr. Martinez said.

So far, the majority of people who have called or gone online to schedule this not-so-popular-test were able to get it over with in just one visit.

This is one of the first direct access programs in Texas and of course, you will have to check with your insurance carrier to determine if you can participate.

To schedule the Direct Access Colonoscopy, call Memorial Hermann at 713-456-5280 or go to http://www.memorialhermann.org/directaccess/.


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