Nearly four years ago, a group of physician leaders at Vanderbilt University Medical Center launched a program designed to ensure that patients who presented with certain complex conditions, such as clotting and bleeding disorders, were given the right diagnostic tests and appropriate treatments.
Physicians unfamiliar with such conditions would often order a slew of costly tests, many of them unnecessary, and then would struggle to accurately interpret the results.
So Nashville-based Vanderbilt formed diagnostic management teams that tapped the expertise of pathologists and other laboratory medicine specialists to guide clinical decisionmaking. They give feedback to treating physicians on appropriate testing and treatment pathways for complex conditions, including blood cancers, certain infectious diseases and coagulation disorders.
“These are areas where physicians are not as familiar, so they used to check off every test under the sun,” said Dr. C. Wright Pinson, Vanderbilt's deputy vice president for health affairs. “Having that reverse consultation from a pathologist can really help. Now instead of scatter-shooting lots of tests, we can provide care that's appropriate and efficient.”