Helping patients get speedy answers: Banner MD Anderson’s Undiagnosed Breast Clinic provides services under one roof
When a patient experiences breast pain, discovers a breast lump or is told her mammogram is questionable, the Undiagnosed Breast Clinic at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Gilbert can help ease her worries and help her referring physician. The Clinic, which is open to men, too, opened in April of last year and provides clinical exams, diagnostic imaging, procedures, treatment if necessary and follow-up - all under one roof and with lab and pathology results available to the patient within 48 hours.
Most patients who come to the Clinic will meet with Shefali Birdi, MD, an internal medicine physician who came to Banner MD Anderson last September from the Cleveland Clinic. Already, she has seen close to 150 patients (including a couple of male patients) from all over the Valley and as far away as northern California.
Q: How does the Undiagnosed Breast Clinic support physicians?
Dr. Birdi: Our clinic serves as a great entry point for patients into our health system. Many of our patients are self- referred; others are sent to us from community physicians. Once they are seen in our clinic, they are referred to other specialists in our system, if appropriate. We are also always here as a resource for physicians who may have patients with undiagnosed breast concerns.
Q: How does a physician refer a patient to the Clinic and under what circumstances would that referral occur?
Dr. Birdi: If a physician has patients with concerns regarding abnormal breast imaging, findings on exam or breast symptoms, we would be happy to see them in our Clinic. The referring physician should request an Internal Medicine Consult and specify “Undiagnosed Breast Clinic” in comments/reason for visit.
Q: Does a referring physician continue with the patient’s care during her (or his) diagnosis and treatment?
Dr. Birdi: The referring physician should continue to be involved with the patient’s care by addressing any concerns that the doctor was primarily seeing the patient for, especially if the patient is still having issues that fall under the physician’s scope of practice.
Q: What kind of communication does the Clinic maintain with a referring physician?
Dr. Birdi: A copy of our note is faxed to the referring physician and we are also always available for conversation regarding the patient’s plan of care.
Q: What are the advantages for physicians to establish and maintain a relationship with the Clinic?
Dr. Birdi: Physicians are able to have a direct resource for their patients who present with any breast concerns. We provide timely evaluation and diagnosis and we maintain communication with our referring providers.