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Assessing the value of second opinion pathology review. Int J Qual Health Care 2021 Mar 11;33(1)



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85102907349 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)   8 Citations


BACKGROUND: Second opinion review of pathology cases can identify diagnostic errors that impact patient care.

OBJECTIVE: We sought out to determine discrepancy rates and clinical impact of review of pathology cases to reassess our policy of review on all second opinion cases.

METHODS: All second opinion pathology cases over 1 year (2018) were retrospectively reviewed for discrepancy, multiple pathologist review and clinicopathologic features via chart and slide review. Cases were categorized as no significant discordance, major discordance without management change and major discordance with management change.

RESULTS: Among 4239 second opinion cases, 3.7% (156/4239) had major discordance with no change in management and 1% (42/4239) had major discordance with change in management. Discordance was significantly associated with multiple pathologist review at our institution (P < 0.001). Highest rates of discordance were observed for thyroid fine needle aspiration (15.3%, 26/170), tissue biopsy of bone/soft tissue (9.6%), endocrine (8.8%), genitourinary (6.7%), gynecologic (6.2%), hematopathology (4%), gastrointestinal/liver (3.7%) and thoracic (3%) sites.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study showed a 1% major discordance rate with resulting significant change in clinical management, spread across nearly all subspecialties. Thus, we support recommendations for review of relevant outside pathology material for all patients for which review has the potential to illicit management change such as instituting a major medical or surgical therapy.

Author List

Farooq A, Abdelkader A, Javakhishivili N, Moreno GA, Kuderer P, Polley M, Hunt B, Giorgadze TA, Jorns JM


Tamara Giorgadze MD Professor in the Pathology department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Bryan C. Hunt MD Associate Professor in the Pathology department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Julie M. Jorns MD Professor in the Pathology department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Diagnostic Errors
Referral and Consultation
Retrospective Studies