Monday, October 6, 2008

"... this is a bad cell because I sat next to somebody who told me it was a bad cell..."

After a clinician presents a case at a clinicopathologic conference, he or she will not infrequently turn to the pathologists and say: "and now for the answer". The truth is that surgical pathology is interpretive and subjective. I was reminded of this when I read a quotation from Richard Friedberg, MD, PhD (pictured), chair of pathology at Baystate Health in Massachusetts, in the latest issue of CAP Today from the College of American Pathologists. Dr. Friedberg was discussing the introduction of computer-assisted imaging analysis into his practice with the aim of improving inter-observer reproducibility in the interpretation of surgical immunohistochemical slides. Here's what Dr. Friedberg had to say on the topic: "We're getting away from the idea that this is a bad cell because I sat next to somebody who told me it was a bad cell -- that sort of guild mentality with anointed experts -- and moving toward more quantifiable, reproducible, validated, specific, and reliable approaches." Finally, anatomic pathology is taking its first, furtive steps into the 21st century!

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