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Interpretive Diagnostic Error Reduction


Adoption of secondary and timely case reviews of surgical pathology and cytology cases will help detect and prevent diagnostic interpretive errors, leading to more accurate diagnoses and improved patient care.

To assist anatomic pathologists implement added quality measures for review of cases, we developed five recommendations and expert consensus statements.

This evidence-based guideline, "Interpretive Diagnostic Error Reduction in Surgical Pathology and Cytology," published in the Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, calls 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.

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:

  1. 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?
  2. 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?

Guideline Information

  • Guideline status: In Review
  • Published online ahead of print: May 12, 2015
  • Originally published: January 2016

Guideline Tools and Resources

Download the following tools and resources to help implement the guideline:

Joint Partner

Association of Directors of Anatomic and Surgical Pathology

CAP/ADASP Offer New Guideline to Improve Laboratory Testing

CAP/ADASP Guideline: Benefit to Pathologists and Patient Care

Review more CAP evidence-based guidelines by the Center.

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