For more than a decade, Dr. Mike Laposata, pathology chairman at UTMB Health in Galveston, has been pioneering the concept of diagnostic management teams (DMTs) whereby pathologists and lab professionals, engage with their clinician colleagues to help diagnose patients, particularly those with complex medical problems. A recently announced conference on February 7-8, 2017, will provide more details about this new facet of the practice of pathology. Below are some details from an email that I received today from Dr. Laposata:
This inaugural Diagnostic Management Team Conference will have historical significance as we change the way we, as laboratory leaders and pathologists, assist healthcare providers on diagnostic test selection and results interpretation. The National Academy of Medicine report from 2015, Improving Diagnosis in Health Care, endorsed the formation of diagnostic management teams to address the major problem of diagnostic error that affects the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals every year. Take a look at the program and meeting web site, imagine your new capabilities, and join us on February 7 and 8, 2017 in Galveston, Texas at the Galveston Island Convention Center....Now is the time to establish the true value of the laboratory and the crucial work we all do for patients. will have historical significance as we change the way we, as laboratory leaders and pathologists, assist healthcare providers on diagnostic test selection and results interpretation.
Here is an excerpt from an article about DMT's writtten by Dr Laposata (see: How Can a Diagnostic Management Team Improve Patient Care and Save Money?) :
When physicians fail to order the correct laboratory tests or incorrectly interpret the test results, even when a lethal outcome ensues, the poor outcome is rarely attributed to the doctor’s mistake involving the laboratory tests. Even as the clinical laboratory test menu has enlarged in cost and complexity, laboratory directors do not routinely provide patient-specific, expert-driven narratives of complex clinical laboratory evaluations....The ordering physicians live in a world with thousands of tests, many new and highly expensive, where we call the same test by multiple different names in different laboratories. For example, there are at least 5 different names and 5 different abbreviations for von Willebrand factor activity, and there are at least a dozen tests with the word vitamin D in the title presented to physicians who simply want to know of their patient is vitamin D deficient. The consequence is that doctors order unnecessary tests and often fail to order tests which can provide an immediate and conclusive diagnosis.
This is a conference you don't want to miss. Improving the interpretation of lab tests will go a long way toward eliminating diagnostic errors. We owe it to Dr. Laposata and also to ourselves to support all of his efforts. You can register at the conference web site.