UMHS reimagines how pathologists interact with patients, families


By Dale Parry, PFCC Advisor

Reinventing the relationship between pathologists and patients is one of the concepts being explored by the Department of Pathology’s new Patient Family Advisory Council (PFAC). The group, which has 36 regular members and seven patient/family advisers, began its work in July with Jeffrey Myers, M.D., (Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs and Quality) as facilitator.

“Patients and families may be unaware of the substantial role that pathology plays in their healthcare journeys,” Dr. Myers says. “Those who work in pathology, in turn, struggle to stand in our patients’ shoes to more deeply understand opportunities to improve the value of the services that we provide.  I believe that learning to partner with, rather than simply doing things to and for, patients and their families will transform our discipline and significantly improve the quality, safety and value of our contributions to an increasingly complex health care ecosystem.”

Dr. Myers believes that when pathologists are not so removed from patients and their families, they can drive safer, higher quality, and more effective pathology care for less cost.

The group’s initial areas of concentration:

  • Reimagining how pathologists share information with patients and families.
  • Making pathology more transparent and accessible.
  • Understanding how pathology can create new value in patients’ experience.

In November, 24 members of the Pathology PFAC – including three patient/family advisers – participated in the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care’s intensive training seminar in San Antonio.

In 2017, the Pathology PFAC will be digging deeper with patients and families to determine how and where they as a department can turn from what is more system centered services to those that can embrace a patient and family centered care model. Working with the Institute’s faculty, they created an action plan to structure the PFAC’s next steps.


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