Frequent Patients See Doctor by Video for Rare Digestive Disorder

By T. Crouch

Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EOE) is a life altering and rare digestive disorder.

Dr. Jonathan Markowitz, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Greenville Health System, describes the condition as an extensive food allergy. He says while the condition is rare, he sees hundreds of patients in the Southeast, some who seek him out because of his interest and research in the disorder. Additionally, the patients who see him make frequent visits, as the diagnosis can be tedious.

In 2015, Markowitz and his team began a one-year pilot program, using video conferencing or telehealth for follow-up visits. The project was funded by the South Carolina Telehealth Alliance's Telehealth Implementation and Evaluation Grant, in hopes to ease the burden for patients in South Carolina who travel far.

The Mannings live in Summerville, South Carolina, a trip that can take over three hours one-way. Two of their three children have EOE. They were able to participate in the pilot project for their middle son's follow-up results. For them, quickly connecting with Markowitz over video was more personal and easier than viewing results online and sending emails.