Context: Both gynecologic cytology and surgical pathology use similar methods to measure diagnostic error, but differences exist between how these methods have been applied in the 2 fields.
Objective: To compare the application of methods of error detection in gynecologic cytology and surgical pathology.
Data sources: Review of the literature.
Conclusions: There are several different approaches to measuring error, all of which have limitations. Measuring error using reproducibility as the gold standard is a common method to determine error. While error rates in gynecologic cytology are well characterized and methods for objectively assessing error in the legal setting have been developed, meaningful methods to measure error rates in clinical practice are not commonly used and little is known about the error rates in this setting. In contrast, in surgical pathology the error rates are not as well characterized and methods for assessing error in the legal setting are not as well defined, but methods to measure error in actual clinical practice have been characterized and preliminary data from these methods are now available concerning the error rates in this setting.