In an era of precision medicine and rapidly advancing cancer therapeutics, the role of pathology in the diagnosis and management of cancer is evolving. Pathologists are uniquely positioned at the intersection of multiple points along the cancer care continuum. Starting at the point of cancer diagnosis, pathologists provide expert interpretation and may recommend biomarker testing to guide treatment decisions. As clinicians monitor treatment response, repeat biopsies or biomarker testing may inform how the tumor is evolving. Pathologists may also play a role in determining clinical trial eligibility, especially for patients who do not respond to the standard of care. Recent advances in targeted therapies, molecular biology, and immuno-oncology necessitate a closer integration and coordination of pathology with the multidisciplinary cancer care team. There are currently no formally established criteria to classify the levels of integration between pathology and the multidisciplinary cancer care team.
Assess the level of pathology integration with cancer care delivery at your institution. Upon completion, you will receive a personalized report with scores in each domain. Self-assessment results can help identify short- and long-term opportunities to improve and strengthen integration of pathology services, taking into account factors such as your program’s resource level, infrastructure, and administrative/leadership support.
Take the Assessment
Precision medicine is increasingly critical to selecting the right treatment for patients with cancer, but pathology reporting can be lengthy, complex, and confusing—especially in this fast-paced molecular era.
Hear one provider’s suggestions for simplifying and standardizing pathology reports so patients can be better informed, understand their prognosis, and own the progress of their therapies.
Considerations for Pathology Reporting
Explore aspirational concepts and practical ideas to achieve a more coordinated pathology reporting approach, minimize delays to treatment, and improve communication between pathologists and members of the cancer care team.
Patient-Centered Care: Reporting and Communicating Pathology and Ancillary Test Results
Learn how reporting improvements can lead to elevated patient-centered care, help patients better understand their diagnosis, and more fully engage in shared decision-making.
ACCC coordinated virtual workshops at three member programs to explore ways to improve processes regarding hereditary genetic counseling and testing for cancer prevention, targeted treatment selection, and family support.
Pathology Survey Key Findings
To gain a comprehensive view of how pathology is currently integrated with the multidisciplinary oncology team, ACCC and its partner organizations developed and disseminated a survey for members of the care team.
Review the importance of pathology leadership and integration within the pre-analytical phase including practical considerations and establishment of relevant protocols including referral, biopsy, diagnosis, communication with oncologists, biomarker testing and treatment.
An insightful and thought-provoking discussion about the expanding role and importance of early engagement of pathologists—the laboratory physicians who guide, develop, and implement biomarker testing.
These materials, along with a paper highlighting key policy issues, comprised pre-reading for participants attending the Integration of Pathology in Oncology Care Leadership Summit held on July 31, 2018, in Washington, D.C.
This invitation-only forum convened a select group of thought leaders from a diverse group of stakeholders including providers, payers, patient advocacy groups, labs, diagnostic and tech companies, and pharmaceutical manufacturers to discuss critical issues facing the oncology community with regards to biomarker testing, precision medicine, and the current ways in which pathologists interface with the cancer care team.
Download the Environmental Scan Learn About the Summit Participants
Leadership Summit participants prioritized future opportunities, identifying the following as the most immediately actionable:
Summit Executive Summary Summit Proceedings
Through panel discussions, breakout group conversations, and interactive presentations, Summit participants shared perspectives on how pathology is currently integrated with the multidisciplinary cancer care team and what opportunities exist to improve on the status quo. Through a consensus-driven process, Summit participants identified seven opportunities as the most feasible and impactful for achieving closer integration of pathology with the cancer team.
Policy and regulatory issues are impacting the future of precision medicine and clinical diagnostics in oncology. This white paper, prepared as pre-reading for summit participants, explores some current concerns, including CMS's 14-Day rule.
Read Our White Paper
For more information on this project, please contact the ACCC Provider Education department.