It’s a new day for patients suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). For those living with the chronic and debilitating symptoms of reflux disease, a new philosophy on treatment may be the answer to healthy, long-term management of symptoms. This new approach isn’t measured out in milligrams. There’s no pill to swallow or tablet to chew. Instead of combatting reflux disease through new pharmaceutical or surgical interventions, this new set of principles, called the Pasadena Protocol, targets the failures and inefficiencies within the existing treatment approach.
The Pasadena Protocol is RefluxMD’s response to the current status quo method of diagnosing and treating reflux disease. It’s a set of conventions, principles, and behaviors that have the power to dramatically impact relationships between patients, practitioners, insurers, and employers. By focusing on the underlying causes of reflux disease and its progression, and providing a platform for knowledge transfer, communication, coordination within the reflux disease community, the Pasadena Protocol will be a powerful tool to achieve the following objectives:
The seven key elements of the Pasadena Protocol are as follows:
Knowledge is power. When it comes to choosing safe and effective treatment options for the long-term management of reflux disease, no saying could be truer. Unfortunately, modern healthcare costs make it impractical for medical practitioners to provide sufficient patient education.
RefluxMD fills the gap between patient and practitioner by providing the most comprehensive collection of information and education on reflux disease. Focused exclusively on reflux disease, RefluxMD’s website offers easily accessible information on all treatment options, medications, symptoms, research results, new developments, and ongoing clinical trials.
Successful treatment of reflux disease relies on a successful diagnosis. But the progressive nature of the disease, combined with the likelihood for a misdiagnosis, requires specific and personalized recommendations.
RefluxMD offers every individual with reflux symptoms an online, interactive assessment tool to categorize their disease into one of many stages. Based upon the findings, relevant information and recommendations – like meeting with a qualified specialist who can re-confirm the disease’s status and approve further recommended treatments – are then made available. The widespread adoption of RefluxMD’s assessment and recommendation process continues to gain the approval of physicians and insurers.
The wrong medical practitioners too often treat reflux disease. The fact is that more than 80 percent of office visits for reflux disease-related symptoms are to medical generalists with little current knowledge about the disease. Less than 5 percent of those suffering from symptoms are estimated to ultimately visit a reflux disease specialist. As a result, the disease is often misdiagnosed, resulting in inappropriate treatment.
RefluxMD is committed to improving these statistics and connecting qualified practitioners and patients. By seeking out reflux disease specialists, continuously providing them with current information and data on all aspects of the disease and its treatment, and connecting them to patients, when appropriate, RefluxMD provides an essential bridge between patients and qualified practitioners.
Treatment for reflux disease has become dominated by the administration of powerful and costly medications. Research suggests that 30 percent of those using medication are not experiencing reflux, meaning that nearly a third of users are doing so unnecessarily. Such inappropriate use needlessly exposes users to serious potential health complications, and economic expenditures estimated at upwards of $4 billion per year.
RefluxMD believes that these medications, properly prescribed to those needing them, are an important tool for both medical professionals and sufferers, but further guidance is clearly needed for their usage to be safe and effective. Working with reflux disease specialists, patients, insurers, and employers, RefluxMD has implemented a simple, but effective process to validate the medical necessity of these medications.
Not every patient knows how to be his or her own advocate. Traditionally, doctors and nurses have been on the frontlines of patient education and advocacy, but financial constraints facing the healthcare system make it increasingly difficult for them to do so. While many sufferers of reflux disease, with adequate and appropriate education, will be confident and empowered to take control of their disease, others need a guiding hand.
RefluxMD is here to assist all reflux disease sufferers become their own advocates. RefluxMD offers its members the unique opportunity to email specific questions to a reflux specialist and request clinical referrals and office appointments. With easy access to highly qualified specialists, online tools, and educational resources, RefluxMD gives patients a navigable pathway to feeling empowered about the management and treatment of their disease.
Accurate monitoring of reflux disease is an essential component of treatment. Yet, even the most attentive medical practitioner finds long term monitoring of their patients extremely difficult, if not impossible. Patients, typically provided with only basic instructions, are often left on their own until the next office visit. Frustration, poor compliance, and ultimately, sub-optimal medical outcomes often result.
RefluxMD gives patients the knowledge and the tools to monitor their disease and track their treatment plans. Periodic assessments track year-to-year changes, a symptom tracker monitors symptoms on a daily or weekly basis, and alerts and reminders can be personally activated to ensure compliance. The end product is a new paradigm for reflux disease monitoring and patient-practitioner communication.
The abundance of new clinical research studies and ongoing trials focused on reflux disease presents great opportunity and great challenge. The massive influx of new data makes it difficult for specialists, let alone general practitioners, to stay abreast of the latest developments and breakthroughs.
Exclusively focused on reflux disease, RefluxMD monitors all ongoing research, tracks clinical advances, reports on all clinical trials, and makes current, relevant information available to both consumers and medical professionals.
The current medical approach to reflux disease is a path to substantial health and financial costs. Not only will it result in higher incidence of the disease in the general population, but greater incidence of esophagitis, Barrett’s Esophagus, and esophageal adenocarcinoma are likely to follow as well. Additionally, improper and unnecessary treatment will add a tremendous financial burden to the healthcare system.
The Pasadena Protocol is RefluxMD’s response to this possible future. Comprised of the principles and concepts noted above, this new outlook has the potential to change the behaviors of the reflux disease community and address the severe shortcomings of today’s approach to treatment. RefluxMD welcomes all patients, practitioners, insurers, and employers that agree with the Pasadena Protocol as partners to change the future of this disease.
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