Errors in pathology and laboratory medicine: consequences and prevention

J Surg Oncol. 2004 Dec 1;88(3):161-81. doi: 10.1002/jso.20125.


Reducing errors and improving quality are an integral part of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. The rate of errors is reviewed for the pre-analytical, analytical, and post-analytical phases for a specimen. The quality systems in place in pathology today are identified and compared with benchmarks for quality. The types and frequency of errors and quality systems are reviewed for surgical pathology, cytopathology, clinical chemistry, hematology, microbiology, molecular biology, and transfusion medicine. Seven recommendations are made to reduce errors in future for Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques / standards*
  • Diagnostic Errors / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Laboratories, Hospital / standards
  • Medical Errors / prevention & control*
  • Pathology, Clinical* / education
  • Pathology, Clinical* / instrumentation
  • Pathology, Clinical* / standards
  • Quality Control