CEO SUMMARY: Prevention of diagnostic testing errors is getting more attention by both physicians and pathology labs because patients are less tolerant of potentially life-changing errors. Strand Diagnostics’ Know Error system is designed to reduce or eliminate errors involving tissue specimen misidentification. In this first part of our two-part series, we provide information about the
Anatomic PathologySkip to articles
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.
CEO SUMMARY: It started about eight years ago and shows no signs of slowing down. Specialist physicians, particularly urologists and gastroenterologists, have learned about the benefits of operating their own in-clinic anatomic pathology laboratories. One-by-one, these specialty practices are investing in this ancillary service. As they do, local pathology groups lose access to these tissue
CEO SUMMARY: More buyers are crowding into the lab testing industry and looking to acquire anatomic pathology testing companies. These buyers are willing to pay strong prices to acquire AP labs and companies which they determine to be a strategic fit. All of this acquisition activity is happening even as the Baby Boomer generation of
CEO SUMMARY: In a pioneering collaboration, the pathology department at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, will work with GenomeQuest, Inc., to perform whole genome sequencing of tumor specimens. GenomeQuest will handle sequencing, assembly, and annotation of the genetic data. BIDMC will analyze these whole human genome sequences to develop companion diagnostic tests
CEO SUMMARY: During 2010, the Medicare Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) will pay a 2% bonus to pathologists who register and report data on 80% of their cases for the specified CPT codes. However, independent pathology laboratories still cannot participate in the PQRI program. Also, PSA, LLC, reports it can be challenging to audit the
CEO SUMMARY: In Canada, the story about inaccurate breast cancer testing just won’t go away. In March, the Cameron Report was made public with its assessment of lab testing failures in Newfoundland and Labrador. In April, the health system in those provinces admitted that it needed to review and possibly retest another 43 breast cancer
CEO SUMMARY: What does a lab do when it discovers that it has reported inaccurate test results? In 2004, a turnaround team arrived at the laboratory of Maryland General Hospital in Baltimore to deal with the consequences of a failed infectious disease testing program. For about two years, the lab had reported inaccurate HCV and
CEO SUMMARY: Most laboratory professionals don’t know it yet, but significant changes occurred to the entire lab industry last week. After Quest Diagnostics Incorporated acknowledged that it was retesting tens of thousands of patients because 7% of the Vitamin D results it reported during an 18-month period were inaccurate, a blitz of newspaper headlines and
CEO SUMMARY: Expectations are that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will take further action to rein in anatomic pathology arrangements used by physicians to capture revenue from their patient referrals. This may happen as soon as next month, when CMS publishes the 2009 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) Update and requests public
CEO SUMMARY: It was a signal win for federal healthcare officials when a federal district court judge in Washington, DC, dismissed a case brought by UroPath, LLC. UroPath had sued HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt seeking to challenge the physician fee schedule final order and the anti-markup rule. The judge’s decision provides Medicare officials with useful