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New tech to diagnose and treat GI (gut) disorders, a condition impacting 60-70 million Americans
Bambi Francisco Roizen interviews Sam Holliday, CEO of Oshi Health. Oshi Health is a virtual-first medical practice revolutionizing the diagnosis, management and treatment of digestive health conditions.
-- Oshi Health is diagnosing and treating gastrointestinal disorders (GI disorders) by applying a virtual layer on top of today’s evidenced-based approaches just like Virta Health took the Ketogenic diet and made it accessible remotely.
-- Simply put, GI disorders have to do with anything you put into your body and its process inside the body until it comes out. The most common GI disorders are Irritable Bowel Symptoms (IBS), which accounts for about 10-15% of the US population. These are also called gut brain disorders and it focuses on links between the brain and the gut. There’s also Irritable Bowel Diseases (IBD), which are inflammatory diseases. The common ones are Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. There’s also Gerd (gastroesophageal reflux disease), which is another 10-15% of the population.
-- About 60-70 million people suffer from GI disorders but there are imperfect answers as to why people have them. In other words, it’s unclear what prevents these disorders. There is, however, increased understanding of how to treat the conditions.
-- There’s a lot of stigma around GI conditions, partly because there’s excessive bathroom usage. And hence there’s low awareness of these problems. But it’s also one of the highest drivers of workplace absenteeism and reduced productivity.
-- How does one diagnose GI? It’s not as simple as getting a blood draw, such as one would do to diagnose diabetes. To diagnose GI, one has to understand symptom patterns, such as bleeding in conjunction with rapid weight loss.
-- How does one treat GI? There’s some medications, dietary (e.g. Fodmap diet) and psychological (e.g. CBT) interventions. Thanks to telehealth and remote care, a lot of these interventions can now be accessible and easily administered.
-- How does Oshi compare to traditional experiences? Oshi goes beyond just removing foods people like to eat. Once a person starts feeling better, Oshi can reintroduce the foods and understand what food triggers a negative response. There’s also the ongoing psychological component where patients can engage with a doctor who understands GI disorders and can provide GI-specific exercises, such as diaphragmatic breathing, which is a technique taught to those suffering from stress due to their GI disorders. Typically, many GI clinics won’t have a psychiatrist because they can’t get reimbursed for them.
-- Oshi Health bundles the care for employers to help them lower their overall healthcare costs. In 3-4 months, 85% of patients see symptom improvement. After that time, a patient can graduate to a self-care program. Oshi’s studies have shown that employees using Oshi cost less than employees with the same condition who don’t use Oshi.
-- Is GI disorder a priority for employers? More employers are starting to see GI as a top driver of cost. But it’s not as popular as mental health and muskuloskeletal.
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