Anatomic Pathology

Anatomic pathology is a medical specialty that is concerned with the diagnosis of disease based on the macroscopic, microscopic, biochemical, immunologic and molecular examination of organs and tissues. It is one of two branches of pathology, the other being clinical pathology, the diagnosis of disease through the laboratory analysis of bodily fluids and/or tissues. Often, pathologists practice both anatomical and clinical pathology, a combination known as general pathology.

Anatomic pathology relates to the processing, examination, and diagnosis of surgical specimens by a physician trained in pathological diagnosis. Clinical pathology is the division that processes the test requests more familiar to the general public, such as blood cell counts, coagulation studies, urinalysis, blood glucose level determinations and throat cultures. Its subsections include chemistry, hematology, microbiology, immunology, urinalysis and blood bank.

Anatomical pathology is itself divided in subspecialties, the main ones being surgical pathology (breast, gynecological, endocrine, gastrointestinal, GU, soft tissue, head and neck, dermatopathology), neuropathology, hematopathology, cytopathology, and forensic pathology.

Anatomic pathology is one of the two primary certifications offered by the American Board of Pathology (the other is clinical pathology) and one of three primary certifications offered by the American Osteopathic Board of Pathology. To be certified in anatomic pathology, the trainee must complete four years of medical school followed by three years of residency training. Many U.S. pathologists are certified in both anatomic pathology and clinical pathology, which requires a total of four years of residency. After completing residency, many pathologists enroll in further years of fellowship training to gain expertise in a subspecialty.

Anatomic pathologists usually work in hospitals, investigating the effects of disease on the human body via autopsies and microscopic examination of tissues, cells, and other specimens. Medical laboratory directors are responsible for the sophisticated laboratory tests on samples of tissues or fluids and the quality and accuracy of the tests. The practice of pathology is most often conducted in community hospitals or in academic medical centers, where patient care, diagnostic services, and research go hand in hand.

Eight Macro Trends for Clinical Labs in 2023

CEO SUMMARY: Laboratory administrators and pathologists will want to carefully study eight important trends that will guide their business strategies in 2023. Many of these macro trends center on financial and operational difficulties and ways to steer around these obstacles. Anothe…

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2022’s Top 10 Lab Stories Confirm Challenging Times

CEO SUMMARY: There are valuable insights to be gleaned from The Dark Report’s “Top 10 Lab Industry Stories for 2022.” Several of this year’s story picks involve external forces reshaping healthcare in the United States in profound ways. Other story picks for 2022 illustrate …

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AI Fuels New Efforts in Computational Pathology

CEO SUMMARY: Computational pathology combines technology and data science to improve laboratory medicine. Mayo Clinic is exploring how this new model can improve productivity and diagnostic accuracy in ways that even labs at smaller hospitals can put into practice. Success will stem…

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PathAI Buys Poplar Health, Creates Unique Company

CEO SUMMARY: Pathologists were surprised this summer when a company developing image analysis software announced the acquisition of one of the nation’s largest independent anatomic pathology (AP) laboratories. The technology company PathAI is now the owner of Poplar Healthcare Man…

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Is Artificial Intelligence Ready for First Use in Anatomic Pathology?

CEO SUMMARY: Use of artifical intelligence (AI) to analyze digital pathology images and aid in diagnosis—or even in making the primary diagnosis—is much discussed. Experts in pathology regularly predict that use of AI in image analysis will transform the pathology profession. Bu…

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Pathologist’s Prison Term Is a Warning for AP Groups

CEO SUMMARY: In January, a former VA pathologist was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison following his conviction on charges of involuntary manslaughter and mail fraud. The facts in this case show why leaders of clinical labs and pathology groups need to be aware of individuals …

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Why Labs Operate in a ‘Duality’ during Pandemic

HAS IT OCCURRED TO MANY OF YOU THAT YOUR CLINICAL LABORATORIES today must operate in what I will describe as an operational “duality”?  On one side, your lab must deal with COVID-19 testing. This is true whether your lab performs molecular SARS-CoV-2…

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Specimen Volume Returns at Dallas-based ProPath

CEO SUMMARY: Like other physician specialties, anatomic pathology saw a dramatic collapse in the number of daily procedures with a corresponding decline in cash flow as the COVID-19 pandemic hit with full force in March, April, and May. The good news is that the daily volume of tissue…

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Quest Reports 46% Decline in New Cancer Diagnoses in March

ONCE SHELTER-IN-PLACE ORDERS WERE ENACTED IN MARCH because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of new diagnoses of cancer declined sharply in the United States. Newly-published data confirms this fact. The data also support the warnings of anatomic pathologists that—because of the pandemi…

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Proposed Medicare 2021 PFS Cuts Pathology Fees by 9%

IF THE PROPOSED MEDICARE 2012 PHYSICIAN FEE SCHEDULE (PFS) RULE—published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on Aug. 4—takes effect as currently written, pathology professional fees will be cut by 9%, effective Jan. 1, 2021. This was not…

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