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Utility and applications of synoptic reporting in pathology

Authors Amin W, Sirintrapun SJ, Parwani AV

Published 10 August 2010 Volume 2010:2 Pages 105—112


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

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Waqas Amin1, S Joseph Sirintrapun3, Anil V Parwani1,2

1Department of Biomedical Informatics, 2Department of Pathology University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA; 3Department of Pathology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA

Background: Synoptic reports in routine pathology practice provide composite documents that include information from morphology and molecular technologies. It is clear and accurate structured information and developed by incorporating standardized data elements in the form of checklist for pathology reporting. This facilitates pathologists to document their findings and ultimately improve the overall quality of pathology reports.

Objectives: The goal of this review article is to discuss (1) the importance of synoptic reporting in pathology, (2) utility and applications, (3) its impact on pathology reporting and patient care, and (4) the challenges and barriers of implementing synoptic reporting. Pertinent literature will also be reviewed.

Design: The synoptic reporting system provides a complete set of data elements in the form of synoptic templates or “worksheets” for pathology tumor reporting based on the World Health Organization (WHO) Classification and the College of American Pathologists (CAP) Cancer Checklists. These standards provide most updated and supplemented classification scheme, specimen details, and staging as well as prognostic information. Data from synoptic reporting tool can be imported to a relational database where they are organized and efficiently searched and retrieved. Since search and retrieval are streamlined, synoptic databases enhance basic ­science, clinical, and translational cancer research.

Conclusion: Synoptic reporting facilitates a standard based structured method for entering the diagnostic and prognostic information in accurate and consistent fashion for a particular ­pathology specimen, thus reducing transcription services, specimen turnaround time, and typographical and transcription errors. The structured data can be imported into the Laboratory Information Service (LIS) database, which facilitates swift data access and improved communication for cancer management. Finally, these synoptic templates act as a robust medium of high-quality data from the various biospecimens, which can be shared across multiple on-going research projects to enhance basic and translational research.

Keywords: synoptic reporting, pathology

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