Austin Garza MD - Colorado Springs
Specialty/Sub-specialization: Gastroenterology and Hepatology
I strive to be a clinician who treats GI and liver ailments—who listens, thinks, educates, and discusses plans with the patient, family, and referring physician. I don’t want to be merely a technician who performs endoscopy. This is the gastroenterology consultant I aim to be for this community, and why I joined like-minded physicians at this practice.
What are you able to do for patients today that you weren’t able to do five years ago?
I can offer more hope. Colon cancer death rates are declining thanks to improved awareness and screening. We can say that about very few malignancies. With Inflammatory Bowel Disease, patients have more options for medical therapy than ever before. Hepatitis C patients who are non-responders to current therapy have the hope of new cocktail formulations in the coming years. I think the future is very bright for our patients.
What new developments are on the horizon in your discipline that have the most potential to improve patient outcomes, and why?
At Penrose-St. Francis Health Services, we can offer our patients with GI malignancies a “fast-track” multi-disciplinary approach that, I believe, improves patient experiences and outcomes. GI Oncology is better at involving all treating specialties at a quicker pace, with less waiting between a diagnostic endoscopy, staging endoscopic ultrasound, and ultimately visits with the oncologist, radiation oncologist, and surgeon. Input from radiology and pathology also provide invaluable insights into treatment. This GI Oncology team meets regularly to discuss individual cases. A process that used to take weeks can now happen very quickly. We have a good system, and are working all the time to make it better.