Study of Cross-Contamination of Biopsy Specimens in 69 Anatomic Pathology Laboratories Raises Concerns about Test Quality and Patient Safety

Extraneous tissue cross-contamination found in all participating pathology laboratories Cross-tissue contamination, regardless of specimen volume or how frequently reagents were changed

Pathologists and histotechnologists have long known that traditional methods of processing tissue for diagnosis have the potential to cross-contaminate human biopsy specimens. This risk to patient safety and diagnostic accuracy was accepted over the decades because of the limitations of technology and inability to more precisely measure the performance of individual work processes in the histology laboratory.

In recent years, two things have begun to change this long-standing status quo in medical laboratories. These developments now make it possible to more accurately measure the performance of histology work processes. In turn, this allows an understanding of the true rate of errors that happen from the time a human biopsy specimen arrives in the anatomic pathology laboratory until the completed slides are ready to be diagnosed by a pathologist. (more…)