Autopsy Data to Refine Healthcare Quality: A Fresh Perspective

Jawahar (Jay) Kalra*, Zoher Rafid-Hamed and Patrick Seitzinger

Autopsy Data to Refine Healthcare Quality: A Fresh Perspective.

The medical autopsy is an established quality assurance tool that has laid the foundation for modern quality assurance and improvement strategies.

Previous studies have predominantly utilized autopsy data to determine discordance rates among pre- and post-mortem diagnoses and to identify pathologies at highest risk of misdiagnosis.

Although this area of work has contributed considerably to the practice of diagnostic medicine, it is only beginning to scratch the surface of the potential applications of autopsy data.

New and innovative strategies to apply autopsy data represent timely opportunities to strengthen modern diagnostic processes.

The purpose of expanded applications of autopsy data is to inform targeted
strategies to recalibrate diagnostic methods and to mitigate factors that
contribute to diagnostic error in the evolving landscape of modern healthcare.

The medical autopsy plays an important role in medical research. Advances in science and technology continue to expand the available resources that can be leveraged to inform diagnostic decision-making processes. However, an abundance of diagnostic resources available has added complexity to the interpretation of test results.

Unwarranted utilization of laboratory tests results in data pollution, over-diagnosis, and harm to patients. By providing a gold standard of diagnostic accuracy, autopsy data has guided
research in the development and utilization of diagnostic technologies including imaging modalities.

In this way, autopsy data provides insights into the contributions of various diagnostic technologies
and allows us to optimize indications for future implementation.

This is in keeping with previous reports that between 20-50% of CT scans and MRI studies do not contribute to patient care.12 Examples such as these highlight the importance of autopsy data in guiding research and optimizing the use of diagnostic testing.

Pathol Lab Med Open J. 2021; 1(1): e11-e13. doi: 10.17140/PLMOJ-1-e004