Tatjana Kolevska, MD
TRANSFORMING ONCOLOGY AND HEMATOLOGY CARE
“By being experts in their specialties, TPMG oncologists and hematologists have an increased sense of mastery and purpose, as well as greater satisfaction and confidence in seeing their patients. That’s what joy and meaning in medicine is all about.”
Dr. Kolevska has made innumerable contributions in her roles as assistant director of the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Oncology and Hematology Clinical Trials program, chair of physician education for The Permanente Medical Group, and as the recently appointed KP national medical director for cancer care. But it’s her role as TPMG chair of oncology and hematology for which she’s most celebrated.
Dr. Kolevska recently engaged TPMG oncologists and hematologists to join forces in transforming cancer and hematology care into an expert-based, multidisciplinary program in which every patient gets expert care close to home.
“In the last decade the Federal Drug Administration has approved more than 200 new medications and over 160 genetic tests for cancer care—more than any other specialty,” she says. “Specialization is the best way to stay on top of this rapid advancement.”
Dr. Kolevska and her colleagues designed a model in which cancer and hematology care are divided into 12 specialties, grouped by volume, and distributed throughout the region so that patients never have to travel far from home to consult with an expert. Each hematologist and oncologist was then asked to choose two specialty areas in which to focus. Dr. Kolevska also established a navigation program in which a nurse navigator evaluates each patient’s needs, orders tests, matches them with an oncology expert, and schedules a visit with the specialist once test results are available.
This new model of care provides high-value consultations and eliminates the need for out of network referrals. Today 90% of caseloads for TPMG hematologists and oncologists fall within their two areas of specialty.
Dr. Kolevska also initiated virtual multidisciplinary case conferences, in which the situation of each newly diagnosed patient is discussed, with recommendations from the panel becoming part of the patient’s medical record, to help coordinate care among clinicians.
“Dr. Kolevska’s passion for and commitment to patient care is second to none,” says Christopher Walker, MD, physician-in-chief at KP Napa-Solano. “Her contributions have improved patient outcomes and exponentially enhanced the reputation of our Cancer and Hematology Care program in Northern California.