Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Share this article on:

Directed Peer Review in Surgical Pathology

Smith, Maxwell L. MD*; Raab, Stephen S. MD†,‡

doi: 10.1097/PAP.0b013e31826661b7
Review Articles

Second pathologist peer review is used in many surgical laboratory quality-assurance programs to detect error. Directed peer review is 1 method of second review and involves the selection of specific case types, such as cases from a particular site of anatomic origin. The benefits of using the directed peer review method are unique and directed peer review detects both errors in diagnostic accuracy and precision and this detection may be used to improve practice. We utilize the Lean quality improvement A3 method of problem solving to investigate these issues. The A3 method defines surgical pathology diagnostic error and describes the current state in surgical pathology, performs root cause analysis, hypothesizes an ideal state, and provides opportunities for improvement in error reduction. Published data indicate that directed peer review practices may be used to prevent active cognitive errors that lead to patient harm. Pathologists also may use directed peer review data to target latent factors that contribute to error and improve diagnostic precision.

*Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ

Department of Pathology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Department of Laboratory Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland/Eastern Health Authority, St John’s, NF, Canada

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Reprints: Maxwell L. Smith, MD, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic Arizona, Scottsdale, AZ 85259 (e-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.