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Putting the patient at the centre of pathology: an innovative approach to patient education—
  1. Anthea Lafreniere1,2,
  2. Bibianna Purgina1,2,
  3. Jason K Wasserman1,2
  1. 1 Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2 Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jason K Wasserman, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, Canada; jwasserman{at}


In many centres, patients now have access to their electronic medical record (EMR) and laboratory results, including pathology reports, are amongst the most frequently accessed pieces of information. The pathology report is an important but highly technical medical document that can be difficult for patient and clinicians alike to interpret. To improve communication and patient safety, pathologists are being called upon to play a more direct role in patient care. Novel approaches have been undertaken by pathologists to address this need, including the addition of patient-friendly summaries at the beginning of pathology reports and the development of patient education tools. is a novel website exclusively providing pathology education to patients. It has been designed to help patients understand the language of pathology and to effectively navigate their pathology report. At present, the website includes over 150 diagnostic articles and over 125 pathology dictionary definitions. The diagnostic articles span all body sites and include a variety of malignant, benign and non-neoplastic conditions. Since its creation, this website has been visited over 14 000 times, with cancer-related diagnoses and definitions representing the most commonly accessed articles. This website has been embedded in patient accessible EMRs and shared through partnerships with patients, caregivers and their respective advocacy groups. Our next steps involve longitudinal assessment of from non-medical community members, evaluation of patient satisfaction and understanding and further collaboration with hospitals and care-providers to increase patient access to this resource.

  • medical education
  • reports
  • cancer
  • health services res

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  • Handling editor Runjan Chetty.

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  • Contributors All authors have made substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; have participated in drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; have approved of the version to be published; agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.