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ASCP 2013 Chicago Seeks Solutions to Optimize Clinical Services and Improve Patient Care

Chicago (PRWEB) September 23, 2013

The national debate about ways to reduce unnecessary medical testing and healthcare expenses while improving patient care outcomes looms large in this era of healthcare reform, and three renowned physicians joined forces to propel the conversation forward during the ASCP 2013 Chicago Annual Meeting, Sept 18–21, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

“Inefficiency threatens the United States’ ability to deliver the highest quality of care to all patients,” said Lee Hilborne, MD, MPH, FASCP, DLM(ASCP)CM, who moderated a panel discussion Thursday, Sept. 19 on appropriate test utilization and the Choosing Wisely campaign, “Putting Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in the Driver’s Seat for Tomorrow’s Health Care.”

The pathology and laboratory community needs to “take charge of appropriate test utilization,” said Dr. Hilborne, Medical Director for Quest Diagnostics and Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, who led the American Society for Clinical Pathology’s (ASCP) participation in the Choosing Wisely campaign which encourages physicians and their patients to discuss which diagnostics tests are really necessary.

“However, I maintain that this could be difficult because we are a referral-based specialty,” said Dr. Hilborne, who spearheaded the development of ASCP’s list of five overly-utilized or unnecessarily-utilized tests in the laboratory and pathology profession in support of the Choosing Wisely campaign.

Thursday’s session brought together two strong proponents of effective test utilization, Elaine Jeter, MD, Medical Director with Palmetto, GBA, LLC, one of Medicare’s larger insurance carriers in Columbia, S.C., and Gary Procop, MD, FASCP, Chairman of the Department of Molecular Pathology at the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland. The session sought to continue the dialogue about effective test utilization and to educate practitioners about the leadership role they can play in their communities to help eliminate unnecessary testing.

Dr. Procop led the Cleveland Clinic on multiple initiatives and pilot programs targeting reduced test utilization over the past year that have cumulatively resulted in cost avoidance of more than $1.3 million this past year alone. He advocated for more intervention by the medical community in hopes that it will result in fewer unnecessary tests, lower costs, and fewer false positive test results.

Dr. Jeter is currently leading the MoIDx program, based on a partnership between the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Palmetto, which is intended to develop a process to identify every molecular assay and consider whether they have clinical utility (i.e., not only do they do what they promise, but the results positively influence patient care). Both panelists reiterated the importance of the dual aim to reduce costs while trying to achieve optimal outcomes for patients. Dr. Jeter further emphasized the increasing urgency behind the fulfillment of this initiative, noting that, “as the spectrum of clinical testing expands, the laboratory is able to offer patients and providers an increasing menu of tests. As tests are developed, it is important for pathology and laboratory medicine to help guide the appropriate use of laboratory services.”

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

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