The Pathologist as a Consultant
The pathologist has long been considered the "doctor's doctor," consulted for interpretation of laboratory results, selection of diagnostic tests, monitoring the accuracy of surgical judgments, and introduction of new diagnostic modalities. Pathologists serve on many committees important in hospital and medical management, continuing medical education, and quality assessment. More recently, because of the range and complexity of diagnostic services, a role for the pathologist in explaining tests and their results directly to the patient has evolved. In addition, a very different new role has emerged for pathologists in this era of Managed Care.
Pathologists have considerable experience with laboratory and hospital management. They are accustomed to thinking diagnostically across a broad spectrum of human disease. Their familiarity with issues of quality control and quality assurance also provides expertise in assessment of appropriate utilization of testing for the individual patient. These attributes are important in the evaluation and auditing of health care services for insurers and government agencies.