Digestive Health Center Guides Patients on the Road to Good Health
Release Date: 03/14/2007

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OMAHA, Neb.— Alegent Health Bergan Mercy Medical Center has an integrated new program to aid in the fight against gastrointestinal disorders like colorectal cancer, which ranks as the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths for men and women in the United States. The Digestive Health Center is the region’s first facility that is solely dedicated to digestive health and is designed to address a full spectrum of needs for patients and their families using a coordinated and comprehensive approach to digestive health services that is centered on each individual patient.

“The Digestive Health Center is unique in its ability to offer the patient the highest-quality of individualized care in one location,” said Mary Kay Thalken, Clinical and Support Services Executive for Alegent Health Bergan Mercy. “No other facility in the region is able to offer patients a kind of one-stop-shop where they can go to effectively get treated for their digestive health needs.”

The Digestive Health Center offers a full range of clinical and surgical services to accurately detect, diagnose and treat such diseases and disorders that can affect digestive health which include the colon, esophagus, stomach, large and small intestine, bowel, pancreas and rectum. The Center has dedicated 22-private patient rooms, equally divided into pre- and post-operating rooms and five procedure rooms. Each room features a comfortable, warm and inviting atmosphere that is most conducive to healing. The Center uses state-of-the-art technology to perform both inpatient and outpatient tests and services including colonoscopies, endoscopic ultrasound and capsule endoscopies otherwise know as a “pill cam,” which can help physicians make quicker, more accurate diagnosis.

“The Digestive Health Center is an exceptionally smooth running facility with state-of-the-art equipment and streamlined anesthesia services, providing a world class atmosphere for patients and specialists. No facility in this area currently compares with our facility when it comes to gastroenterologists performing technically demanding procedures such as endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography,” said Doug Brouillette, M.D. and chairman of the Department of Gastroenterology, Alegent Health Bergan Mercy Medical Center.

But what makes this center so unique is the high level of collaboration and teamwork that begins at the time the patient walks through the door and continues long after that patient has been discharged from care. Each patient is paired with a Nurse Navigator—a Registered Nurse who has specialized training in digestive health—to help streamline care. The Nurse Navigator serves as a point of contact for physicians and other staff, helping coordinate all diagnostic and interventional services that the patient might need including scheduling tests and consultations. Nurse Navigators also serve as the patient’s anchor by answering any questions they may have and also educating both patients and their families. This person also continues to provide coordinated follow-up services long after the patient has been discharged from care.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer among men and women and the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. This year alone, the disease will kill around 56,000 people and 150,000 new cases will be diagnosed.