July 13, 2015 – Fort Worth TX/Sun Valley ID —OMNI Health Media (OMNI) and the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Support Foundation (IBDSF) are pleased to announce a partnership with TheGIConnection that will both improve access to and increase support of patients and their families impacted by a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, collectively known as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
This partnership creates a valuable new IBD online community. The community will be moderated by IBDSF and accessed through the theGIConnection.com, IBDSF.org, and hospitals and clinics nationwide like GastroHealth Miami that use theGIConnection application on their websites.
More than 1 million Americans live with IBD; each year approximately 10 people per 100,000 are diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, and 16 people per 100,000 are diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. IBD is a lifelong condition characterized by inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract for no apparent reason. Individuals diagnosed with IBD and their families face a chronic struggle with the disease and are in need of ongoing support and information about treatment advances and education. TheGIConnection was designed to meet this need.
TheGIConnection is one of four disease-focused online community destinations developed and managed by OMNI Health Media: CancerConnect, theRAConnection, Kintalk, and TheGIConnection provide support and inspiration to more than 300,000 patients each month. Unlike traditional social media, which distance patients and families from their provider, OMNI Connect communities reside directly on hospital, patient advocacy, and clinic websites, allowing providers and advocacy organizations to support their patients and build community in a safe, secure, fully moderated environment. OMNI communities are utilized by leading health providers throughout the United States, including Gastro Health Miami, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Health Quest, University of California, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Ohio State James Cancer Institute, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and other leading providers.
“Individuals with IBD and their caregivers need ongoing access to support—not just during a brief office visit with their physician, but when they go home and conduct ongoing research to learn about their condition. They need help during sleepless nights as well as busy days,” explains Charles Weaver, MD, the physician founder and CEO of OMNI Health Media. “We are extremely pleased that we will be better able to support IBD families through this partnership with IBDSF. IBDSF brings years of experience and expertise in supporting IBD patients to TheGIConnection community, which will benefit both IBD patients and hospitals and clinics using TheGIConnection Application.”
Marci Reiss, LCSW, founder of IBDSF says, “IBD impacts the whole family, not just the patient. At the IBD Support Foundation, we recognize the importance of strengthening the family unit while addressing the psychological, social, and emotional needs of each patient. This is done through various programs including individual and family counseling, hospital visitation programs, peer mentors, school advocacy, and psychoeducational support groups for IBD patients and their families. We are very excited to add a therapeutic, moderated online community as a means of ongoing support for our patients and their families. One of the goals of IBDSF is to prevent IBD patients from ever feeling alone because of their disease. We know that illness can be isolating. People often don’t understand what it is like to be a patient. We know that illness can be frightening and when patients feel vulnerable, they need access to knowledgeable people who care. We know that illness impacts every relationship, with family, with friends, at work and at school. And we know that crises don’t just occur during business hours, but often at night or on weekends or on holidays. Having an online support group will help enable access to support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”
About IBDSF: The IBD Support Foundation, based in Los Angeles, California, focuses on providing comprehensive, patient-centered psychosocial care. Under the direction of Marci Reiss, LCSW, the clinical arm of the Foundation strives to provide leading psychosocial support and education to patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and their families. The educational arm of the Foundation strives to educate physicians and allied healthcare professionals about psychosocial care. This often insufficiently recognized element of patient care is increasingly important for doctors and institutions as they try to adapt to healthcare reform. The development of a research arm of the Foundation is a strong new initiative as the Foundation prepares to launch its second decade in January, 2016. The research arm of the Foundation will focus on conducting research, developing new research initiatives and funding research to help others move scientific studies forward.
About theGIConnection: TheGIConnection is an online support community providing information, inspiration, and support for individuals with conditions affecting the GI tract. As part of the OMNI Connect platform, theGIConnection not only meets the needs of gastroenterology patients and caregivers but also provides clinics and hospitals with a safe and secure social media solution that allows them to increase referrals, improve patient retention and enhance patient engagement by providing 24/7 support and creating community for their patients while extending their brand.
TheGIConnection was created to facilitate access to news, information, education, and support for patients with GI cancers, acid reflux and Barrett’s esophagus, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, liver disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), celiac disease, and other conditions affecting the GI tract. TheGIConnection has already gained national attention in a recent review in Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News.
About OMNI Connect: OMNI Connect is the leading private-label social network used by physicians, hospitals, and clinics to create community and provide support for their patients. OMNI Connect can be used to create communities for any health condition. This unique online application was developed by OMNI Health Media and combines a robust information platform consisting of current, comprehensive information on health topics with a social network. It is populated with rich content to support the many ongoing needs of patients and is comprised of communities of individuals with similar interests.
About OMNI Health Media: OMNI Health Media is a leading specialty publisher, and developer of websites and Internet applications in healthcare with a focus on cancer, rheumatology, gastroenterology, and women’s health. OMNI develops and distributes award winning multi-media health education content and programming. OMNI has developed and provided content to over 350 websites used by 2,700 physicians. OMNI’s award-wining programs reach over 1.5 million seekers of health information in English, Japanese, and Spanish each month. OMNI Health Media currently publishes and manages Women magazine, CancerConnect.com, TheRAConnection.com, aWomensHealth.com, theGIConnection and The Web Chats with the Experts interactive series featuring thought leaders from institutions such as Memorial Sloan Kettering, Johns Hopkins, Yale, and other prominent health centers.
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