Trends in extramural consultation: comparison between subspecialized and general surgical pathology service models

Yong Jun Liu, Meghan Kessler, Dani S. Zander, Dipti M. Karamchandani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Academic and community hospital pathology groups are increasingly adopting subspecialized service models for surgical pathology (SP) practice. Reasons cited include improvements in sign-out efficiency, quality and accuracy, enhancement of clinician-pathologist communications, and augmentation of resident training quality. However, there is a paucity of published quantitative data regarding the outcomes of transitioning from general to subspecialized SP service coverage. Retrospective assessment of the frequencies and outcomes of SP extramural consultations requested by faculty at our institution was performed, encompassing 2 consecutive years each of subspecialized and general SP service models. The frequencies of extramural consultations between the 2 practice models were not significantly different (0.25% vs 0.21%, P =.142). Although more pathology cases were sent out in gastrointestinal (0.29% vs 0.14%, P =.007), gynecologic (0.16% vs 0.02%, P =.009), and pulmonary (1.73% vs 0.28%, P =.008) services during the “subspecialization” era, fewer pediatric cases were sent out (0.48% vs 1.69%, P =.008). Importantly, the transition to the subspecialized model was associated with a marked reduction in the frequency of major disagreements between the original diagnosis and the consultant's diagnosis (1.8% vs 9.3%, P =.018). Our study supports the value of the subspecialized SP sign-out model for increasing diagnostic accuracy and enhancing the quality of patient care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-24
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Diagnostic Pathology
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Extramural consultation
  • General surgical pathology
  • Sign-out model
  • Subspecialized surgical pathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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