Pathologist & Radiologist
Pathology and radiology form the core of cancer diagnosis, yet the workflows of both specialties remain ad hoc and occur in separate "silos," with no direct linkage between their case accessioning and/or reporting systems, even when both departments belong to the same host institution. Because both radiologists' and pathologists' data are essential to making correct diagnoses and appropriate patient management and treatment decisions, this isolation of radiology and pathology workflows can be detrimental to the quality and outcomes of patient care. These detrimental effects underscore the need for pathology and radiology workflow integration and for systems that facilitate the synthesis of all data produced by both specialties. With the enormous technological advances currently occurring in both fields, the opportunity has emerged to develop an integrated diagnostic reporting system that supports both specialties and, therefore, improves the overall quality of patient care.
Pathology and radiology form the core of cancer diagnosis. Pathology characterizes the specific histologic and molecular features of tissues, while radiology localizes suspicious lesions and informs clinical-stage and potential comorbidity determinations. Under the current paradigm of diagnostic medicine, pathologists and radiologists function as members of distinct disciplines, with no direct linkage between their workflows or reporting systems. Even when both departments belong to the same institution, their respective reports on the same patient are only loosely associated with one another by identifiers such as patient's name and medical record number. Despite this complete bifurcation of reporting, the synthesis of both specialties' data must establish diagnosis, determine prognosis, drive patient management and serve as the primary means for assessing response to treatment. Unfortunately, current practice of reviewing pathologists' and radiologists' reports is limited to hospital tumor boards that do not typically review patients with negative pathological findings, and all too often the responsibility for correlation falls on the clinician ordering the study. Consequently, a radiology and pathology diagnostic reporting system that integrates text, sentinel images and molecular diagnostic data to an integrated, coherent interpretation would better inform management decisions.