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Dr. Lundberg
Dr. Lundberg

Former JAMA Editor Emphasizes Pivotal Role of Medical Labs in Healthcare Reform

Monday, November 18, 2013

Medical laboratories of the future must focus on the quality outcomes of diagnostic testing, rather than the volume of testing they perform if they are to thrive in the era of accountable care organizations, according to George D. Lundberg, MD, MASCP, former editor of The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) and former editor of Medscape.

“Pathologists should make every laboratory test maximally useful. This includes organizing laboratory services based upon turnaround time as well as test names. We who work in the labs should be thinking, and researching, in terms of the outcomes of performing laboratory tests. Tests that have no effect on outcome should be reconsidered as to whether they need to exist.”
—George D. Lundberg, MD, MASCP

In this evolving healthcare environment, the pathologist must play an essential role as an “interpreter” who guides clinicians to select the appropriate diagnostic test, says Dr. Lundberg, guest presenter at a symposium, Choosing Wisely: How California Pathologists Can Influence Appropriate Testing,” on Dec. 7 in San Francisco.

The symposium, presented by ASCP in collaboration with the California Society of Pathologists (CSP), is designed to help California pathologists effectively implement ASCP’s Choosing Wisely best practices; impact positive clinical outcomes and cost reduction; and overcome communication, organizational, and systems barriers to do so. The symposium, which will be held during CSP’s Annual Meeting, is part of an educational initiative for California pathologists and is funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

ASCP has partnered with the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation’s Choosing Wisely campaign to engage physicians in being better stewards of finite healthcare resources. Presenters also include Lee H. Hilborne, MD, MPH, FASCP, DLM(ASCP)CM, a former ASCP President and 2011–2012 Chair of the ASCP Institute Advisory Committee; Rebeccah Rothschild, MPH, Health Literacy Manager of the California Health Literacy Initiative; Richard Kravitz, MD, MSPH, Professor and Co-Vice Chair of Research for the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of California-Davis School of Medicine; and Cassidy Tsay, MD, Medical Director of the Nautilus Healthcare Management Group, Anaheim, Calif.

“Pathologists should make every laboratory test maximally useful,” emphasizes Dr. Lundberg, now Consulting Professor at Stanford University, and Chief Medical Officer of CollabRx in San Francisco. “This includes organizing laboratory services based upon turnaround time as well as test names. We who work in the labs should be thinking, and researching, in terms of the outcomes of performing laboratory tests. Tests that have no effect on outcome should be reconsidered as to whether they need to exist.”

Additionally, the explosion of genetics and genomics research and testing is revolutionizing the practice of medicine. Pathologists play a critical role in guiding physicians to determine the right test at the right time for the right patient, in order to achieve right outcome. To register for the symposium, click here.

As part of the Choosing Wisely grant, ASCP has developed an online interactive toolkit that includes educational materials and media for pathology and laboratory professionals to lead and influence patients and colleagues to “choose wisely.” Visit www.ascp.org/choosingwisely for more information on the toolkit. 




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