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Open Access Debate

Integrating pathology and radiology disciplines: an emerging opportunity?

James Sorace1*, Denise R Aberle2, Dena Elimam3, Silvana Lawvere4, Ossama Tawfik5 and W Dean Wallace6

Author affiliations

1 Office of Science and Data Policy, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, US Department of Health and Human Services, 200 Independence Ave., SW Washington, D.C. 20201, USA

2 Department of Radiological Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, UCLA Medical Center, Box 951721, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1721, USA

3 SciMetrika, LLC, 100 Capitola Drive, Suite 106, Durham, NC 27713-4451, USA

4 SciMetrika, LLC, 100 Capitola Drive, Suite 106, Durham, NC 27713-4451, USA

5 Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Kansas University Medical Center, 3901 Rainbow Blvd., Mail Stop 3045, 2017 Wahl Hall West, Kansas City, KS, 66160-7410, USA

6 Department of Pathology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, 10833 Le Conte Avenue, Center for Health Sciences, Room 13-222, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1672, USA

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Citation and License

BMC Medicine 2012, 10:100  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-10-100

Published: 5 September 2012

Abstract

Pathology and radiology form the core of cancer diagnosis, yet the workflows of both specialties remain ad hoc and occur in separate "silos," with no direct linkage between their case accessioning and/or reporting systems, even when both departments belong to the same host institution. Because both radiologists' and pathologists' data are essential to making correct diagnoses and appropriate patient management and treatment decisions, this isolation of radiology and pathology workflows can be detrimental to the quality and outcomes of patient care. These detrimental effects underscore the need for pathology and radiology workflow integration and for systems that facilitate the synthesis of all data produced by both specialties. With the enormous technological advances currently occurring in both fields, the opportunity has emerged to develop an integrated diagnostic reporting system that supports both specialties and, therefore, improves the overall quality of patient care.

Keywords:
Pathology; Radiology; Quality Improvement; Health Information Technology; Standards; Interoperability