At the beginning of March, an international panel of leaders in the pathology community announced its support of four principles designed to drive positive change and improve patient safety in the anatomic pathology laboratory. The “Principles for Pathology and Patient Safety” address key issues where the expressed need for standardization and solutions is most acute.

The panel was convened in Tucson a week earlier at the invitation of Ventana Medical Systems Inc, a member of the Roche Group, to examine the state of lab-based patient safety, with the challenge to work toward a consensus on how to advance the standard of care for patients. The group, known as the International Pathology Patient Safety Advisory Board, concluded its work with this shared vision:

  • All patients around the globe deserve standardized, high-quality pathology services.
  • As patient advocates, to support accurate diagnosis and enable personalized medicine, the International Pathology Patient Safety Advisory Board identifies significant opportunities to improve patient safety by developing and implementing solutions to enhance:
    • Tissue preservation.
    • Specimen/slide identification and tracking.
    • Prevention of tissue contamination.
  • We, the members of the International Pathology Patient Safety Advisory Board, find further opportunity to define standardized parameters for data collection and sharing in the assessment of these processes leading to quality measures for laboratory improvement.
  • We call upon the pathology profession to collaborate with laboratory and hospital administrative partners, clinician colleagues, and the laboratory diagnostics industry to address these opportunities to achieve excellence in patient care.

Eslie Dennis, MBChB

Eslie Dennis, MBChB, vice president of scientific affairs for Ventana and chair of the advisory board, said, “We’re encouraged by the progress made last week in Tucson, and are certain that patient care will be markedly improved if these principles are widely embraced by stakeholders in the pathology community.”

The board’s statement was shared with the pathology community in San Diego at the beginning of March, during the annual meeting of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP). The board expressed the hope that its consensus statement could be translated into concrete actions that can help further patient safety improvements in the anatomic pathology laboratory.

Members of the advisory board include Phil Branton, MD, Bethesda, Md; Richard Brown, MD, Houston; John Carpenter, MD, Lynnwood, Wash; Yvonne Daniels, MHS, Charlotte, NC; Eslie Dennis, MBChB, Tucson, Ariz; Joachim Diebold, MD, Lucerne, Switzerland; Ramses Forsyth, MD, MBA, Ghent, Belgium; Shane Kohl, MD, Omaha, Neb; Alex Laslowski, BAppSci, Clayton, Victoria, Australia; Shinobu Masuda, MD, Tokyo; and Richard Zarbo, DMD, MD, Detroit.