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Are clinicians failing to supply adequate information when requesting a histopathological investigation?
  1. J L Burton1,
  2. T J Stephenson2
  1. 1Academic Unit of Pathology, Division of Genomic Medicine, University of Sheffield Medical School, Beech Hill Road, Sheffield S10 2RX, UK
  2. 2Department of Histopathology, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Glossop Road, Sheffield S10 2JF, UK
  1. Dr Burton j.l.burton{at}


Aims—There is a perception among histopathologists that specimens are often received without adequate clinical details. This is the first study to determine the adequacy of information provided when histopathological investigations are requested.

Methods—Two thousand sequential requests for histological examination were assessed for adequacy and completeness.

Results—There was no significant difference in the demographic details supplied by physicians and surgeons. Clinical details were inadequate in 6.1% of cases: those from physicians were significantly more often adequate (98.7% v 90.6%) and more often included a diagnosis (74.4% v 38.8%) than those from surgeons. Physicians were more likely to supply their name and contact number but requests frequently lacked details of the sender.

Conclusions—Specimens are infrequently received with inadequate demographic details, but clinical details and details of the sender are more often lacking. Education of clinical colleagues is required if pathologists are to manage the demand for the service.

  • surgical pathology
  • demand management

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