Are amended surgical pathology reports getting to the correct responsible care provider?

Vinita Parkash, Akosua Domfeh, Paul Cohen, Neal Fischbach, Mary Pronovost, G. Kenneth Haines, Peter Gershkovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objectives: Amended reports (AmRs) need to follow patients to treating physicians, to avoid erroneous management based on the original diagnosis. This study was undertaken to determine if AmRs followed the patient appropriately. Methods: AmRs with diagnostic changes and discrepancies between ordering and treating physicians were tracked. Chart reviews, electronic medical report (EMR) reviews, and interviews were conducted to establish receipt of the AmR by the correct physician. Results: Seven of 60 AmRs had discrepancies between the ordering and treating physicians, all with malignant diagnoses. The AmR was present in the treating physician's chart in only one case. Ordering physicians indicated that AmRs were not forwarded to treating physicians when corrected results arrived after patient referral, under the assumption that the new physician was automatically forwarded pathology updates. No harm was documented in any of our cases. In one case with a significant amendment, the correct information was entered in the patient chart based on a tumor board discussion. A review of two electronic health record systems uncovered significant shortcomings in each delivery system. Conclusions: AmRs fail to follow the patient's chain of referrals to the correct care provider, and EMR systems lack the functionality to address this failure and alert clinical teams of amendments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-63
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Amended
  • Reports
  • Surgical pathology


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