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Michael Mihalik

At the risk of displaying my ignorance to the world, why WOULD a pathologist want to note the consulting pathologist on a report?

We obviously support this functionality, but I have always had this question.

I guess I have two general thoughts on the matter. The first is that is this not equivalent to the documentation of QC on a report? Obviously, I would not send out a diagnosis or result without QC being adequate. If I wanted further consultation on a case, that is my choice as the signing pathologist and would it not be customary for the requesting clinician to expect that such consultation would have occurred if there were any doubt. Document it 'yes', but put it on the report, 'why'.

My second thought about this practice is that it becomes yet one more item on a patient report, that is perhaps not particulary relevent to patient treatment. Imagine a report with a gross, microscopic, and diagnosis sections. Add an organ map, and perhaps a slide image or two. Finally, add a synoptic result section and a textual diagnosis as well. I have even gotten wind via the HL7 comittees that a 'summary' section to a report might be in the offing. With all that data on a report, it's no wonder that I've had practicing pathologists approach me with the issue of 'having difficulties with physicians reading my reports and understanding the diagnosis to act on'.

To summarize, adding some notation that another pathologist was consulted on the report can often serve just to complicate the reading of the report.

If anyone has other thoughts, I'd enjoy hearing another perspective. I am not a doctor and it would not surprise me that there is some perspective that I am missing.

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