Thyroid cancer patients are diagnosed and evaluated by multiple physicians across many different institutions. As a result, vital communication is lost between physicians, thus hindering their ability to provide the best quality of care. Inadequate clinical communication can result in incorrect diagnoses, inappropriate surgery, incorrect disease stratification, and pathologic interpretation. Research has shown that good interdisciplinary communication improves the diagnostic and prognostic determination, as well as patient outcomes. Despite the existence of comprehensive checklists of the essential elements required for interdisciplinary communication of perioperative information, it is a challenge to ensure that the information is available in real-time to all providers. We propose a solution to this problem using the Thyroid Care Collaborative (TCC). Electronic health records, such as the TCC, improve the accuracy and quality of disease-specific care by enhancing inter-physician communication through feedback loops and disease mapping.
These two features of the TCC, electronic feedback loops and disease maps, aim to improve inter-physician communication. Electronic feedback loops, or automatic notification systems, make it easy for clinicians to stay informed and enhance future diagnostic accuracy. Virtual disease mapping provides a foundation for physicians to effectively collaborate throughout a patient’s thyroid cancer treatment. This virtual imaging module incorporates ultrasound and pathologic details that are obtained before surgery.
The TCC is portable across institutions and disciplines, specific to thyroid nodule and cancer care, and triggers more detailed evaluation or reconciliation of any change in a patient’s health status. As a convenient online platform, an interdisciplinary team of clinicians can collaborate, educate, and remain informed throughout a patient’s entire thyroid nodule/cancer journey. Through the delivery of clinical practice guidelines directly to the point of care, the TCC helps to ensure that physicians are making the most evidence-based management decisions. The widespread use of such electronic health record systems is crucial and will dramatically improve the entire spectrum of patient care.
To learn more about active surveillance as a viable treatment option for low-risk thyroid cancer, please visit our Facebook page. The Thyroid Care Collaborative has shared our research with the THANC Foundation for their 30 Stories in 30 Days campaign, which aims to bring awareness to thyroid disease and thyroid cancer during the month of September.