The Future of Diagnosis: How QUP Can Revolutionise Patient Care

27 March 2024

Quality use of pathology (QUP) centres on the appropriate and efficient use of pathology in clinical medicine.

Striking the right balance in pathology testing is crucial. Over-use can lead to a cascade of problems and significantly increase healthcare costs. Inappropriate tests can cloud interpretation of results, leading to confusion, and produce potential red herrings, which in turn may trigger further testing, procedures, or medication use, ultimately wasting valuable time and resources for both the clinician and the patient, and increasing patient anxiety.

On the other hand, under-use can result in delayed or missed diagnoses, with potential to negatively impact patient treatment plans and outcomes.

When to test

QUP streamlines the path to accurate diagnoses, leading to optimised disease management and treatment. This not only benefits clinicians and patients with better health outcomes, but also avoids unnecessary testing that strains healthcare systems.

The cornerstone of QUP lies in a simple yet powerful principle: request tests that will best guide patient care, prioritising tests that will best guide diagnosis and treatment decisions.

Determining best practice

SA Pathology has secured grant funding to research interventional behavioural change in pathology use. This innovative project aims to understand and influence how clinicians currently use pathology services, and use this information to guide best practice and recommend the most effective use of pathology testing for optimal patient care.

The research will measure the effectiveness of QUP interventions in changing clinician behaviour, as well as patient outcomes, and aims to translate to a reduction in unnecessary hospital stays, readmissions, and overall healthcare costs.

SA Pathology has also applied for grant-funding to map the use of pathology testing in the diagnosis and management of Type 2 Diabetes across South Australia.

Securing funding for this project will unlock a critical resource: data scientists. Within SA Pathology’s state-wide network, these experts will be instrumental in interpreting the vast amount of data collected during the study. Their skills in statistical analysis, machine learning, and data visualisation will be crucial for uncovering trends and measuring the effectiveness of implemented interventions. When using the data in research, all features that could identify the patient are removed (deidentification): it is only the patterns of testing that are analysed by the scientists to understand how pathology is used.

Upon completion, the research team, a collaboration between SA Pathology, UniSA and SA Health aims to develop recommendations on the most effective diagnostic pathways for Type 2 Diabetes. This comprehensive understanding will empower informed decision making and help clinicians to deliver streamlined patient care and disease management, and influence the content of future guideline documents.

South Australia is an excellent place to undertake QUP research. The state benefits from a single public pathology provider that services the public health system and a large proportion of the states GPs. Notably, SA Pathology is  a major pathology provider in regional and rural areas of the state, where diabetes outcomes are poorer, and therefore where such research will have greatest impact. SA Pathology’s data set is unique in Australia and will provide unrivalled insights into the way pathology is used and how pathology use can be improved.

Most importantly, because of the richness of SA Pathology’s data, the findings of this research can be extrapolated and applied population-wide, resulting in improved diagnostic pathways and health outcomes for all Australians.

SA Pathology is proud to stand at the forefront of shaping pathology's future.

General News

27
Mar

RCPA Pathology Update 2024

SA Pathology was a proud supporter of the inaugural RCPA Pat...

27
Mar

The Future of Diagnosis: How QUP Can Revolutionise Patient Care

Quality use of pathology (QUP) centres on the appropriate an...

1
Mar

Syphilis: The Great Imitator

While cases of syphilis (Treponema pallidum) are on the rise...

1
Mar

Genomic partnership delivering life - changing insights

In 2016, genomic sequencing was gaining traction across the ...

1
Mar

Lead poisoning - know the symptoms

In the early 1990’s Australia banned the use of lead in item...