The College of American Pathologists (CAP) and the Association of Directors of Anatomic and Surgical Pathology (ADASP) have developed an evidence-based guideline: "Interpretive Diagnostic Error Reduction in Surgical Pathology and Cytology" to provide recommendations for secondary and timely review of surgical pathology and cytology cases to improve patient care.
The panel addressed the overarching question, "What are the most effective ways to reduce interpretive diagnostic errors in anatomic pathology?" The key questions that the panel addressed were:
- Does targeted review (either done at analytic or post-analytic phase) of surgical pathology or cytology cases (slides and/or reports) reduce the error rate (often measured as amended reports) or increase the rate of interpretive error detection compared to no review, random review, or usual review procedures?
- What methods of selecting cases for review have been shown to increase/decrease the rate of interpretive error detection compared to no review, random review, or usual review procedures?
The new guideline includes five recommendations and expert consensus statements to assist anatomic pathologists to implement added quality measures for review of surgical pathology and cytology cases. These recommendations call for anatomic pathologists to develop procedures for review and to perform the reviews in a timely manner to positively impact patient care. In addition, the guideline recommends that pathologists document and continuously monitor these procedures relevant to their practice setting, as well as take steps to improve agreement in cases where agreement is lacking. Adoption of secondary and timely case reviews will help detect and prevent diagnostic interpretive errors, leading to more accurate diagnoses and improved patient care.