A prior study in this journal, “Clinicians Are from Mars and Pathologists Are From Venus,” demonstrated that clinicians can erroneously interpret pathology reports up to 30% of the time. After noticing reporting heterogeneity in the setting of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), we speculated that a standardized synoptic report could improve gastroenterologist comprehension.
To investigate the effect of a synoptic table on gastroenterologist comprehension of IBD pathology reports.
We recruited gastroenterology fellows and faculty to participate in this study. All participants were given 6 pathology reports and asked if the following were present: active inflammation, chronic inflammation, IBD, and dysplasia. Participants were also asked to rate their confidence. After a 6-week washout period, the same questionnaire was distributed with a synoptic report. We performed paired t-tests to compare the mean accuracy and confidence scores between the preintervention and postintervention responses.
A total of 39 physicians participated: 9 fellows and 30 faculty. Mean accuracy scores were higher after the intervention (0.81 versus 0.86, P < .001). Mean confidence was also higher after intervention, but this was not statistically significant (3.91 versus 3.98, P = .24).
The improvement in accuracy scores after intervention confirms that clinician comprehension improved with the synoptic table. A synoptic report may provide a standardized way of communicating diagnostic information to clinicians in the setting of IBD, and potentially other inflammatory conditions.
Schaberg and Mao contributed equally to this study.
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The authors have no relevant financial interest in the products or companies described in this article.