Publication Abstract

Authors: Carney PA, Eliassen MS, Wells WA, Swartz WG

Title: Can we improve breast pathology reporting practices? A community-based breast pathology quality improvement program in New Hampshire.

Journal: J Community Health 23(2):85-98

Date: 1998 Apr

Abstract: We implemented a regional quality assurance program in New Hampshire (NH) to evaluate breast pathology practices and attempt to improve the completeness of information provided in breast surgical pathology reports. We also assessed the degree to which NH pathologists agree with National Guidelines. The program's objective was to promote a consistent standard of care for patients whose breast pathology is interpreted in NH. Using a sequential survey technique, we were able to obtain consensus on breast tissue report content that was similar to National Guidelines. We also found that 52% of the reporting elements improved in the post-intervention period, although only one reached statistical significance. In conclusion, pathology interpretation is the "gold standard" for determining both screening effectiveness and subsequent treatment of breast cancer, yet variability in breast tissue reporting exists. It is critical that more research be done to improve breast pathology interpretation and reporting practices.