In the fall of 2011, Swedish opened the largest, most advanced endoscopy center in the Pacific Northwest. This state-of-the-art unit serves as the procedural space for a broad range of minimally invasive cases performed by gastroenterologists, colorectal specialists, thoracic and bariatric surgeons and pulmonologists on patients with a broad range of digestive and respiratory diseases. As we celebrated this accomplishment, we were reminded of the complexity of digestive disease and that many times, patients and possibly even referring physicians aren’t sure of what type of specialist is best suited to a particular digestive problem.
There is nothing more distressing as a health care professional than hearing patient horror stories about trying to access care. A chronic illness can cause depression and discouragement; an acute illness or a cancer diagnosis can overwhelm the patient and the patient’s family with plenty of unknowns.
To address these challenges, a group of 50+ specialists came together and created the Swedish Digestive Health Network.
The Swedish Digestive Health Network focuses on collaboration to ease the way for primary care providers and patients to gain access to services our specialists and surgeons can provide. The network is multifaceted, including bariatric and thoracic surgeons; general surgeons; and gastroenterology, colo-rectal, head and neck, hepatology (liver disease), medical oncology and radiation oncology services.
As part of the services available to primary care providers and patients, Swedish has activated an exclusive referral line for the Digestive Health Network: 1-855-411-MYGI (1-855-411-6944). This is my line – I am Debra Cadiente, a registered nurse who has served patients in the Swedish network since 1998. I am dedicated to assisting primary care providers in reviewing their patient’s case and getting the patient into the specialist’s office. The idea of serving the primary care providers warms my heart; many of these providers have been my colleagues over the last 15 years.
I also view my position as an educator, advisor and advocate for patients and families – I am here to assist patients in identifying the specialist they need, along with helping patients and families navigate the system. These services include getting medical records and diagnostic tests transferred to Swedish, making appointments, advising you on transportation and housing while in Seattle. I will also be closing the communication loop by sending your medical records back to your primary care provider. I may not have all of the answers for you right away, but I promise to help you get the answers from the appropriate specialists or the ancillary services Swedish offers.