Mayo Clinic electronic consults help reassure local breast cancer patients

Dr Ley with patientTreating cancer is in the details, with no two cases alike.

The breast cancer team at Tucson Medical Center, led by breast surgical oncologist Dr. Michele Boyce Ley, understands when patients want to practice due diligence and obtain a second opinion.

As a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, that process is easier, allowing physicians aligned with TMC to engage Mayo experts in electronic consults.

Nurse practitioner Karen Narum said eConsults have been performed on about half a dozen breast cancer cases. These typically are either complex cases – such as a patient who had been treated by three different providers, including one out of state – or for those struggling to make a decision, such as a patient who was really on the fence about whether to pursue chemotherapy.

“Patients really appreciate it and feel a bit more at ease when they can hear a recommendation from additional sources of expertise,” Narum said. “It’s also really satisfying when our treatment plan matches what Mayo recommends, which has been the case in all that we have shared with them so far.”

Narum said the process is very simple.   Once the consult form is completed, a coordinator at TMC ensures images and pathology slides are sent.  “The coordinator has been very prompt and provides updates regarding the consult status,” Narum said.  “It’s really a straight forward process and it ensures continuity of care.”

Narum noted that while TMC has referred patients to Mayo Clinic, conversely, Mayo Clinic has referred some Tucson patients back to TMC.

All in all, Narum said, it has been a rewarding relationship. “This is a team approach and we look at it as another tool within our team that has been good for patients and good for us as well.”


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Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461
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