Can the Misinterpretation Amendment Rate Be Used as a Measure of Interpretive Error in Anatomic Pathology?: Implications of a Survey of the Directors of Anatomic and Surgical Pathology

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Abstract

A repeat survey of the Association of the Directors of Anatomic and Surgical Pathology, done 10 years after the original was used to assess trends and variability in classifying scenarios as errors, and the preferred post signout report modification for correcting error by the membership of the Association of the Directors of Anatomic and Surgical Pathology. The results were analyzed to inform on whether interpretive amendment rates might act as surrogate measures of interpretive error in pathology. An analyses of the responses indicated that primary level misinterpretations (benign to malignant and vice versa) were universally qualified as error; secondary-level misinterpretations or misclassifications were inconsistently labeled error. There was added variability in the preferred post signout report modification used to correct report alterations. The classification of a scenario as error appeared to correlate with severity of potential harm of the missed call, the perceived subjectivity of the diagnosis, and ambiguity of reporting terminology. Substantial differences in policies for error detection and optimal reporting format were documented between departments. In conclusion, the inconsistency in labeling scenarios as error, disagreement about the optimal post signout report modification for the correction of the error, and variability in error detection policies preclude the use of the misinterpretation amendment rate as a surrogate measure for error in anatomic pathology. There is little change in uniformity of definition, attitudes and perception of interpretive error in anatomic pathology in the last 10 years.

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