In the second issue of GI & Hepatology News in February 2007, an article reviewed the disruptive forces to colonoscopy including CT colonography and the colon capsule. The article stated that “colonoscopy is still the preferred method, but the emerging technology could catch up in 3-5 years.”
While this prediction did not come to pass, the field of endoscopy has evolved in remarkable ways over the last 15 years. From the development of high-definition endoscopes to the transformation of interventional endoscopy to include “third space” procedures, previously unimaginable techniques have now become commonplace. This transformation has changed the nature and training of our field and, even more importantly, dramatically improved the care of our patients.
Just as notably, the regulatory and practice environment for endoscopy has also changed in the last 15 years, albeit at a slower pace. In January of 2007, as the first issue of GI & Hepatology News came out, Medicare announced that it would cover all screening procedures without a copay but left a loophole that charged patients if their screening colonoscopy became therapeutic. That loophole was finally fixed this year as GI & Hepatology News celebrates its 15-year anniversary.
If the past 15 years are any indication, endoscopy practice will continue to change at a humbling pace over the next 15 years. I look forward to seeing those changes unfold through the pages of GI & Hepatology News.
Dr. Gellad is associate professor of medicine and associate vice chair of ambulatory services at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C. He is also a staff physician with the Durham VA Health Care system. He disclosed ties with Merck, Novo Nordisk, and Higgs Boson Health.