Utilization review and reimbursement of cytology services in endobronchial ultrasound-guided procedures: Challenge and opportunity
Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
© 2015 American Society of Cytopathology. Introduction: The roles of pathologists and cytotechnologists (CTs) continually evolve to optimize patient care, particularly with regard to rapid on-site evaluation (ROSE). Having ROSE performed helps ensure sufficient material is obtained for diagnosis and permits appropriate specimen triage for ancillary studies. At our institution, both on-site and telecytology evaluations are increasingly utilized, particularly in endobronchial ultrasound-guided procedures (EBUS). Consequently, time demands placed on the pathologist and CT staff has significantly increased, creating workload management challenges. Material and methods: A consecutive number of ROSE procedures were documented for a 3-month time period at our institution. Case type and time spent for travel, adequacy assessment, processing, screening, and sign-out was recorded in order to assess time demands placed on staff by different procedures. Results: Average travel/processing time by CTs was variable among ROSE procedures (72.9 minutes), as was adequacy assessment time by pathologists (16.9 minutes). EBUS posed the greatest time challenges with the longest CT travel/processing time as EBUS took almost 40% longer and adequacy assessment took the pathologist 3-4 times longer when compared with other procedures because of the targeting of multiple sites during EBUS with associated procedural delays. Using telecytology, average pathologist adequacy assessment time was reduced from 44.8 minutes to 24.6 minutes for EBUS. The provision of ROSE for EBUS is more challenging from a workload management perspective than for other procedures. Conclusions: ROSE reimbursement is low, and no greater for EBUS than for other procedures. Use of telecytology can save time for pathologists and make the service more cost-effective if the number of procedures is sufficient to justify investment in the technology.
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