Using Diagnostic Management Teams to Add Value with Clinical Laboratory Tests and Pathologists’ Expertise

Webinar recorded January 17, 2018

DMTs are on the radar screens of the nation’s most innovative hospital and health system labs, and for good reason: during
this era of slashed costs and shrinking budgets,
DMTs are the right solution at the right time.
During this webinar learn DMT skills that your clinical lab or pathology group can employ to better succeed!

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Diagnostic Management Teams are gaining respect as an effective way for pathologists and clinical laboratory leaders to engage clinicians in ways that directly improve patient outcomes while avoiding unnecessary costs. Best of all, such teams are an effective way for medical laboratories to contribute value as reimbursement shifts to global payment, capitation, or other forms of value-based remuneration to providers.

The power of a diagnostic management team (DMT) comes from the fact that it is organized specifically to improve the diagnostic accuracy of a specific disease or health condition. Each DMT brings together pathologists, other lab experts, and physicians with clinical expertise in that field to interpret patient-specific test results in a precise clinical context that includes relevant data in that patient’s medical record.

Interest in DMTs is so high that last year’s first annual Diagnostic Management Team Conference in Galveston, Texas, was completely sold out, with more than 250 attendees from throughout the United States and several foreign countries. Recognizing the high interest, as well as the high value, in DMTs, Dark Daily presented a special webinar, “Using Diagnostic Management Teams to Add Value with Clinical Laboratory Tests and Pathologists’ Expertise,” on Wednesday, January 17, 2018.

Leading this webinar is Michael Laposata, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Pathology at the University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston. Dr. Laposata is the recognized leader and champion of the DMT concept, having organized effective DMTs at several major academic centers over the years.

Laposata will introduce you to the structure and organization of effective diagnostic management teams, organized around a specific disease or health condition and made up of pathologists, other lab scientists, and physicians who are expert in that particular clinical field. The objective of the DMT is to meet daily with the goal of coming up with faster and more accurate diagnoses in support of a patient’s care team.

You’ll learn how the DMT’s diagnostic process is different in two major ways than the traditional way doctors have ordered lab tests and interpreted the results:

First, understand how a DMT takes the lead in creating expert-driven algorithms that are updated regularly to manage utilization of laboratory tests and dramatically minimize overuse and underuse. This helps the ordering physician to select the correct tests. These algorithms come with reflex testing so as to make it easy for treating healthcare providers to order the right tests and only the right tests. It also contributes to better utilization of laboratory tests and dramatically minimize overuse and underuse. These are all important objectives for every clinical lab in the United States.

Second, Laposata will show you how the DMT’s clinical experts then take the lab test results and combine them with relevant data in that patient’s medical record, to produce an expert-driven interpretation of the patient’s test results in a specific clinical context. “The interpretations generated within an effective DMT require the knowledge of a true expert—not someone who may have a general idea about the meaning of a particular laboratory test result,” explains Laposata.

Next to speak will be Heather Stevenson-Lerner, MD, PhD, a liver and transplantation pathologist and Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology, UTMB. She will discuss a DMT organized around diseases of the liver. This is a useful, step-by-step description of an effective DMT, illustrated with case studies that demonstrate how diagnostic management teams can make a positive and substantial contribution to improving individual patient outcomes.

The webinar’s third presenter is Christopher Zahner, MD, a resident pathologist at UTMB. He will share how to pull together all the information needed to support DMT interpretations. From the electronic health record (EHR) system to other overlooked sources of useful data, Zahner will explain the most productive ways to assemble any information that will be useful to the diagnostic management team and that will make a positive difference in patient care.

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During this 90-minute webinar, learn the what and why of DMTs,
and how you can apply their success principles in your own lab!

  • Assembling the right diagnostic management team
  • Appropriate utilization of laboratory tests through use of DMTs
  • Best practices for working through individual cases
  • The right way to engage with referring physicians
  • Tapping ancillary resources to fully support the DMT
  • Billing and payment questions associated with diagnostic management teams
  • Learning from the successes and challenges of other DMTs, and much more!

Motivated by the need to deliver better care in a cost-effective manner, your clinical lab or pathology group can learn much about the principles of diagnostic management teams in ways that can improve your own organization’s diagnostic precision, treatment, and monitoring of patients’ conditions.

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Speakers:

Michael Laposata, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Pathology, University of Texas Medical Branch–Galveston, TX.

Dr. Michael Laposata is the Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathology at the University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston and holder of the 1955 School of Medicine Teaching Profession Endowment. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and completed a postdoctoral research fellowship and residency in Laboratory Medicine (Clinical Pathology) at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He took his first faculty position at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia in 1985, where he was an Assistant Professor and Director of the hospital’s coagulation laboratory. In 1989, he became Director of Clinical Laboratories at the Massachusetts General Hospital and was appointed to faculty in the Department of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, where he became a tenured full Professor of Pathology. In 2005 and 2006 during his time in Boston, he was named to the prestigious list of Best of Boston Doctors by Boston Magazine. Dr. Laposata joined Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 2008 where he was the Edward and Nancy Fody Professor of Pathology, Professor of Medicine, and the Pathologist-in-Chief.

With more than 200 publications to his credit, Dr. Laposata’s basic research program has focused upon a fatty acid metabolite that produces organ damage in patients who abuse ethanol and since 1997, he has investigated the fatty acid alterations in cystic fibrosis patients. His clinical research addresses innovations in diagnostic coagulation and laboratory medicine consultation. The impact of all of his research, calculated by ResearchGate.com, is greater than 97 percent of the thousands of investigators registered on the website. He is the editor or author of six books.­

Dr. Laposata is the recipient of 14 major teaching prizes at Harvard, the Massachusetts General Hospital, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. In a peer nominated survey performed by The Pathologist, an international journal reporting on the practice of pathology, the November 2015 issue identified Dr. Laposata as the most influential pathologist in the United States, and the third most influential pathologist in the world.

Heather Stevenson-Lerner, MD, PhD, Pathologist, Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology Liver and Transplantation Pathologist, University of Texas Medical Branch–Galveston, TX.

Heather Stevenson-Lerner is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology, Division of Surgical Pathology at the University of Texas Medical Branch.  Prior to becoming faculty at UTMB, she completed a fellowship in the Transplant Pathology Division at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.  Dr. Stevenson-Lerner leads the Liver Diseases Diagnostic Management Team at UTMB which is well attended by hepatologists, transplant coordinators, fellows, and residents.  Her research interests include studying the role of the hepatic immune response in fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinoma development.

Christopher Zahner, MD, University of Texas Medical Branch Pathology Resident, Galveston, TX.

Chris Zahner is a third year resident in the Department of Pathology, at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Prior to medical school, he was a mechanical engineer for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for the International Space Station (ISS) specializing in Environmental Control and Life Support (ECLS) systems, and was lead engineer for the Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC).   Dr. Zahner plans to continue his career at UTMB in coagulation, laboratory informatics, and the diagnostic management team (DMT) upon graduation.