The Pathologist in the Era of Personalized Medicine: Patient and Physician Perceptions
Thanh T Ha, Jerome B Taxy. University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Background: The emergence of "personalized medicine" is creating pressure for an increasingly broader role for pathologists, given their unique laboratory training. Anecdotally, some patients and physicians may not understand the pathologist's role in patient care within a multidisciplinary medical team. Efforts to rectify these misperceptions may benefit from better understanding of the nature of this misinformation and how it may hamper communication. The current study seeks to evaluate how patients and other physicians perceive and interact with pathologists.
Design: Separate questionnaires were anonymously administered to physicians (attending physicians, fellows, and residents) and non-health care professionals of at least 18 years old using the free website "surveymonkey.com."
Results: Of the 36 patients who participated, 61% had tissue removed and 100% had laboratory tests performed. 53% have seen their laboratory or pathology report. 86% did not inquire nor were told by whom the result of their test or biopsy came about. Finally, 19% think that pathologists are laboratory technologists. Most of the physician participants (n=16) are family physicians. All have interacted with pathologists, most frequently via a biopsy, multidisciplinary conferences, teaching, and frozen section.
|Interpretation of a biopsy||87|
|Interpretation of a laboratory test||60|
|Evaluating the utility and relevance of a laboratory test||40|
|Obtaining a biopsy||33|
|Implementing a new laboratory test||13|