Measuring errors in surgical pathology in real-life practice: defining what does and does not matter

Am J Clin Pathol. 2007 Jan;127(1):144-52. doi: 10.1309/5KF89P63F4F6EUHB.


This review summarizes our experience using blinded review as a method to measure quality in surgical pathology. It details the specifics about how the review is performed, the weaknesses in the method, and then summarizes our results so far. These results suggest that error rates correlate with the individual pathologist, the type of specimen, the type of diagnosis, subspecialization, and the number of pathologists who review a case. Errors do not correlate with workload. This method is relatively unbiased and effective at identifying significant errors in real life clinical practice. The drawback to this method is the amount of work involved. Blinded review, performed so that errors can be corrected in a timely manner, and eventually integrated into an interlaboratory review process, represents a realistic and fair method to provide quantitative quality assurance information.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bias
  • Clinical Competence
  • Diagnostic Errors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Medical Audit / methods*
  • Observer Variation
  • Pathology, Surgical / standards*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / methods
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / standards*