Pathologists’ Changing Roles – Leadership Not Just Analytics in the Patient-Centered Era

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Laboratory experts discuss patient-centered care at ASCP Annual Meeting, ASCP 2013 Chicago.

The rapid evolution in health care is providing pathologists and laboratory professionals with an unprecedented opportunity to move beyond the lab and be recognized for their sustaining impact on the effective delivery of health care.

This was discussed in detail at "Pathology Leadership in the Patient-Centered Era," presented Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, at ASCP 2013 Chicago, the largest educational meeting for pathologists and laboratory professionals. The session was moderated by James Crawford, MD, PhD, FASCP, Executive Director and Senior Vice President of Laboratory Services, North Shore-LIJ Health System, Manhasset, N.Y. Panelists included David Nace, MD, Chair of the Board of Directors, Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative, Washington, D.C., the leading national advocacy organization for the patient-centered medical home, and Christine Bechtel, Advisor to the National Partnership for Women & Families, Washington, D.C., and to the Casey Health Institute, Gaithersburg, M.D.

The clinical laboratory has long been a source of critical medical information. However, Drs. Crawford and Nace addressed concerns that the current trajectory of healthcare reform is putting the laboratory at risk of being viewed as a "commodity" rather than "value added." Fortunately, healthcare reform offers empowers practitioners of pathology and laboratory medicine to contribute extensively to enhanced patient experiences and improved health outcomes of the population.

According to Dr. Crawford, the ability of individual laboratories to succeed in the coming years requires all laboratory professionals to understand the importance of their contributions to patient-centered and value-based health care. "Our value is based not just on the expertise and accuracy of our diagnoses and test results but on the importance of guiding cost-effective clinical delivery of health care," said Dr. Crawford.

The laboratory must deliver not only accurate and timely data, but also outstanding service to patients and client healthcare providers. "Every laboratory test is an opportunity to provide patient-centered care," said Dr. Crawford.

Other topics addressed during the plenary session included:

  •     The context of the clinical laboratory in accountable care;
  •     Support for the patient centered medical home;
  •     Value-based utilization of laboratory testing;
  •     Data management and interoperability;
  •     Cost management of laboratory services; and
  •     Performance of the laboratory as a patient- and client-centered provider.

Pathology and laboratory medicine are now rising to the challenge of taking a leadership role in driving healthcare innovation and improved outcomes. By listening to patients’ and their care providers’ needs, and anticipating patient care management in our complex health system, the clinical laboratory has the opportunity to be a key driver of patient-centered health care.

More information about this topic can be found at http://laboratory-manager.advanceweb.com/Archives/Article-Archives/Perspectives-in-Pathology-14.aspx. A photo of Dr. Crawford is available by contacting Susan.Montgomery(at)ascp(dot)org.

ASCP 2013 Chicago is being held at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E. Upper Wacker Dr., in Chicago, Sept. 18-21. For more information about the meeting, visit http://www.ascp.org/ascp2013.

About the American Society for Clinical Pathology

Founded in 1922 in Chicago, ASCP is a medical professional society with more than 100,000 member board-certified anatomic and clinical pathologists, pathology residents and fellows, laboratory professionals, and students. ASCP provides excellence in education, certification, and advocacy on behalf of patients, pathologists, and laboratory professionals. For more information, visit http://www.ascp.org.

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