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Pancreatic Diseases Pancreatic Diseases Center Brings Specialties Together Under One Roof A newly established Integrated Practice Unit (IPU) within the UCLA Agi Hirshberg Center for Pancreatic Diseases marks a significant step forward for a program with a reputation going back nearly three decades as a leader in the research and care of pancreatic conditions. With the IPU, the center, which has among the largest volume of patients of any pancreas program in the western United States, aims to transcend traditional barriers by bringing all experts treating pancreatic diseases under one roof to provide more efficient and effective care. The two surgeons leading the IPU effort, Timothy Donahue, MD, and Joe Hines, MD, talk about the new direction. What was behind the decision to establish the IPU? STORY HIGHLIGHTS New integrated practice unit brings experts from all different specialties together to meet to both discuss and treat patients. Integrated approach enables a more in-depth analysis and recommendation to benefit patients. UCLAHEALTH.ORG Dr. Donahue: The pancreas diseases center at UCLA is already among the best anywhere. Patients receive state-of-the-art care for pancreatic cancer and other pancreas diseases, including pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, pancreatic cystic disease, acute pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis, as well as other periampullary diseases such as bile-duct tumors, duodenal tumors, duodenal polyps and ampullary cancer. Before we transitioned to the IPU, though, physicians with different areas of expertise taking care of these types of patients would meet and discuss cases, but they wouldn’t necessarily see patients together, wouldn’t necessarily live and breathe pancreas diseases together. And that’s the real push for the IPU — to take an already great multidisciplinary program and transform it so that experts from all different specialties — surgeons, medical oncologists, gastroenterologists, radiologists, pathologists, genetics counselors, dietitians and others — not only meet and discuss the patients, but also see them together in the same space. With the IPU, patients can have their cases discussed by all of the appropriate physicians in a conference immediately before they are seen in the clinic, 1-844-4UCLADR (1-844-482-5237) then be seen by the team in one setting where they are offered state-of-the-art care, including clinical trials, as recommended by these experts working in concert with each other. Dr. Hines: Patients will immediately recognize this as “one-stop shopping” — the convenience of being able to have all of their appointments in a single day and at a single site. But it’s more than just the convenience. When the entire team is together in the same space and together creating a treatment plan, that’s better than what could be offered when a patient is seeing the same physicians in separate appointments over a series of days or weeks. It’s allowing for a more in-depth analysis and recommendation. This is part of UCLA Health’s overall emphasis on patient-centered care. Is this a trend you see continuing to gain momentum? Dr. Donahue: The future of healthcare, especially at major academic medical centers such as UCLA, is to bring experts together around disease processes rather than having them siloed in the traditional departmental or divisional structures. That’s how we can reduce the cost of healthcare and make care more value-based, more efficient and more convenient for patients.