Pathologist-Clinician Collaboration and Patient Care

  • Saeed Alam Professor of Histopathology, Islamabad Medical and Dental College, Islamabad


In this era of personalized medicine Pathology plays a pivotal role and pathologists are at the forefront of establishing a correct diagnosis, on the basis of which further management of any disease is carried out. Infect the glorification of modern medicine and understanding of human body owes a lot to advances in pathology. A practicing physician or a surgeon is stranded without the help of a diagnostic pathology laboratory and guidelines from pathologist. Clinician suspects a disease and advises a battery of laboratory tests encompassing all the differential diagnosis and quite often, the confirmation requires a microscopic examination or more sophisticated tests involving molecular or genetic studies. It is believed that 70% of clinical decisions are based upon laboratory tests. Collaboration between the pathologist and clinician has been found to be indispensable in improving the quality of patient care especially in, but not limited to, the areas of cancer management and care.1 Knowledge about the sample collection, the right container used and proper documentation can minimize the pre-analytic errors. Laboratory request form is the first contact between the patient and laboratory and inadequately completed laboratory request forms or illegible clinical information provided limits pathologists advice to clinician and may contribute to medical errors. Majority of laboratory errors occur in pre-analytic phase of laboratory workflow and inadequately completed forms have been described as a contributory pre-analytic error.2 Awareness about the limitations and interpretation of different test results is an essential component of patient care.