As one of the fastest changing medical fields, pathology is constantly developing to meet new demands. Each year, new growth and requirements in the field dictate that pathologists adapt their methods and practices. In analyzing some of the ever-evolving challenges and demands, medical professional Dr. J. Fred Stoner anticipates a few trends he believes will remain prevalent in coming years.
Further Movement Towards Subspecializing
One of the most important developments impacting diagnostic surgical pathology services is the increased tendency towards subspecializing. Formerly, pathologists offered a more general, overarching breed of diagnostic services, opting to focus on a widespread approach rather than further specializing within a department.
Alternatively, changes in recent years have seen the increased implementation of subspecialties. Now, it is increasingly common for a pathologist to have a smaller area of expertise. Pathologists who may have previously served a widespread role in a department are now reporting only on a single area such as breast pathology, gastrointestinal pathology, soft tissue diseases, or other increasingly specific subspecialized areas.
Dr. J. Fred Stoner anticipates this trend will continue as practicing pathologists experience an increase in workload. With the addition of more responsibilities, zeroing in on subspecialized areas allows pathologists to effectively report on smaller areas. The trend is one most medical professionals believe are ultimately beneficial, claiming it leads to a more accurate diagnosis and higher clinical efficiency.
Increasing Demand for Multidisciplinary Team Meetings
Though it is a relatively recent development, those in the field of pathology frequently regard Multidisciplinary Team Meetings (otherwise referred to as MDTs) as the most crucial development in the specialty as of recent years.
Among its many benefits, the increase in communication and efficiency which MDTs bring to the table is shown to encourage professional development and allow for teaching opportunities which expand the team’s general knowledge. Importantly, MDTs also reportedly increase pathologists’ sense of purpose and drive to perform, by providing them with a sense of appreciation. In most cases, the implementation of MDTs leads to an overall increase in the quality of communication taking place at a medical facility.
For these reasons and others, Dr. J. Fred Stoner predicts that medical professionals will continue recognizing the extensive benefits of MDTs and thus increase their implementation in coming years.
The Use of the Synoptic Report
For many years, free text and summary were the styles of choice for pathology reports. These styles still remain the majority in regards to non-neoplastic diseases. However, in the past 20 years, changes in information requirements have dictated a modification in the methods used for reporting on other patients.
In response to an increase in the information required, many have found switching to synoptic reports better suits current demands (especially in reporting for cancer patients). In many cases, a mix of both free text and synoptic is used, though these styles require more time and effort to compose. With such variation in reporting styles, there is an overwhelming case for establishing a standardized synoptic manner of reporting.
Seeing as there are no major, foreseeable disadvantages to the adoption of synoptic report styles, Dr. J. Fred Stoner anticipates that coming years will see an increase in their popularity, especially in the realms of non-neoplastic diseases and cancer cases.
Dr. J. Fred Stoner: https://www.linkedin.com/in/fred-stoner-9122389b/