Pathology case volume and complexity impact clinical service burden, staffing, and reimbursement, particularly in an academic setting.
To investigate dermatopathology case complexity by using indicators of challenging cases, which require increased clinical service effort.
A retrospective review was performed of dermatopathology cases during a 9-year period at a tertiary care academic center. A subset of cases was analyzed for which extractable data were available. Cases requiring the following metrics of complexity were identified: rush processing, consensus agreement, performance of immunohistochemistry, use of special histochemical stains, use of immunofluorescence, examination of additional tissue levels, review of a prior case, addition of an explanatory note, presence of multiple specimen parts, and use of intradepartmental consultation.
A total of 8173 cases were reviewed. During the same 3-month period of the year, there was a statistically significant increase in use of rush processing/interpretation, consensus review, number of cases requiring immunostains, special stains, levels, and an explanatory note, and cases reviewed by other subspecialists in the department from 2010 to 2019.
This study shows an increasing trend in dermatopathology case complexity, suggesting that overall clinical service efforts have increased. These findings may inform clinical service staffing and reimbursement.