CEO SUMMARY: To simplify diagnostic lab reporting, the pathology and radiology departments at the David Geffen School of Medicine/UCLA Medical Center are working together to deliver integrated diagnostic information to treating oncologists. This innovative strategy is designed to improve patient care and quality while saving time and cutting costs. For five months, diagnosticians have worked together on more than 50 lung cancer cases while gathering the evidence to show this interdisciplinary approach can improve decision-making and reduce downstream treatment costs.
There’s a unique and innovative clinical collaboration happening at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles. Pathologists and radiologists are working together to develop an integrated diagnostic service at a single diagnostic and radiology imaging center.
The value of providing a clinical service that integrates both pathology and radiology services specifically to provide a consolidated diagnostic lab report to the referring physician has been long-recognized by both medical specialties. But many barriers—mostly institutional—have prevented this concept from becoming a reality. THE DARK REPORT believes that UCLA is the only academic center in the United States where the departments of pathology and radiology now collaborate to provide integrated reports.
The project is still in the proof-of-concept stage. Further, the two specialty groups have jointly invested their own funds to create a stand-alone diagnostic center that will allow patients to undergo the image studies and provide tissue specimens on one visit.
Recently opened, the Diagnostic Center is located next to the UCLA Medical Center Santa Monica in a free-standing ambulatory care building.
“Our two departments have multiple goals for this project,” stated Scott Binder M.D., Senior Vice Chair of Pathology and Director of Clinical Services. “We think that combining information from both departments will simplify the reporting for physicians in ways that can improve diagnostic accuracy and shorten the time required for the physician to arrive at the correct diagnosis. We also expect to reduce the discordance when reports are produced independently by pathologists and radiologists.
“This integrated diagnostic service is designed to be patient-friendly and patient-centric,” continued Binder. “We eventually want to make it possible for the patient to get all the imaging and tissue collection steps accomplished on one visit to a single site.”