The burden of liver disease is increasing in Dallas/Fort Worth and throughout the nation. In addition to alcohol abuse or misuse, there has been an alarming increase in the incidence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a leading cause of cirrhosis.
To provide comprehensive care for patients with liver disease, Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas (Baylor Dallas), part of Baylor Scott & White Health, and Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center – Fort Worth (BSW Fort Worth) have established a new patient care model that focuses on liver health.
“Instead of thinking about liver disease, we need to think about liver health,” says Sumeet Asrani, MD, MSc, chief of hepatology and liver transplantation at Baylor Scott & White Annette C. and Harold C. Simmons Transplant Institute. “We are organizing the liver services we provide across the health care system to focus on healing and improving liver health rather than just focus on combatting end-stage liver disease. We want to intervene early in the chronic disease management process rather than see patients just when they need a transplant. For those patients who don’t make it to transplant and are not doing well, we want to integrate palliative care early on. We need to find ways to help our patients lead healthier lives, identify risk of future damage early on and provide tailored solutions.”
Currently, 16 hepatologists on the medical staffs at Baylor Dallas and BSW Fort Worth, along with seven advanced practice providers, provide comprehensive liver services to patients throughout Texas. About 25 percent of outpatient care is provided in 10 outreach clinics in the state, including Amarillo, Longview, Odessa, Round Rock and Waco. Patients can be seen near where they live and only need to come to the Dallas/Fort Worth area for specialized services.
The goal of the new patient care model is to offer an easy, accessible and seamless patient journey, regardless of patient location and throughout the continuum of care. In some areas, more in-person visits to the community may be added, as well as expansion of virtual options.
Patients may take advantage of enhanced offerings, both in person and virtual, that promote liver health. These may include cooking classes, support groups, seminars, tailored support apps and exercise programs in the community.
“As part of our vision, we want to keep care local and offer flexibility in how care is delivered,” Dr. Asrani says. “A lot of centers take care of patients with liver disease. Our aim is to provide better patient-centered liver care than anyone else in Texas.”
Find out more about our liver program at BSWHealth.com/LiverDisease