‘‘Please help me see the dragon I am slaying’’ implementation of a novel patient-pathologist consultation program and survey of patient experience

Adam L. Booth, Matthew S. Katz, Michael J. Misialek, Timothy Craig Allen, Lija Joseph*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Context.—Pathologists evaluate human disease and teach medical students, residents, and clinicians. Historically recognized as the ‘‘doctor’s doctor,’’ pathologists are well suited to be a direct patient resource of individualized, accurate information. Objective.—To develop and implement a pathology consultation service whereby patients review their tissue slides directly with pathologists. Design.—A pathologist conducted patient consultations, reviewing biopsy or surgery findings on a multiheaded microscope or computer screen. The pathologist evaluated patients’ understanding of their disease and invited patients to ask specific questions. We recorded patient demographic data and assessed utilization with a short patient satisfaction survey using 6 questions with a 5-point Likert scale and 2 questions for open response. Results.—A total of 31 patients came for consultation; 39% (12 of 31) were accompanied by a friend or family member. Patients’ median age was 59 years, with a strong female predominance (90%; 28 of 31). The majority of patients had breast cancer (58%; 18 of 31) or hematologic malignancy (19%; 6 of 31). Of the 31 patients, the survey response rate was 58% (18 of 31). Top-box scoring demonstrated program support, with 89% (16 of 18) of respondents strongly recommending the experience to another patient. Additionally, 78% (14 of 18) strongly agreed that they felt more empowered after seeing their disease. Mean scores for Likert-based questions all were higher than 4.0. Conclusions.—To our knowledge, this study is the first report of direct patient-pathologist consultation. Early data suggest that the program may provide effective patient-specific education. The high response rate and favorable assessment of the program suggest that it may be a valuable resource for some patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)852-858
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Volume143
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Technology

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