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BMC Cancer. 2007 Jul 31;7:144.

Synoptic tool for reporting of hematological and lymphoid neoplasms based on World Health Organization classification and College of American Pathologists checklist.

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Department of Biomedical Informatics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.



Synoptic reporting, either as part of the pathology report or replacing some free text component incorporates standardized data elements in the form of checklists for pathology reporting. This ensures the pathologists make note of these findings in their reports, thereby improving the quality and uniformity of information in the pathology reports.


The purpose of this project is to develop the entire set of elements in the synoptic templates or "worksheets" for hematologic and lymphoid neoplasms using the World Health Organization (WHO) Classification and the College of American Pathologists (CAP) Cancer Checklists. The CAP checklists' content was supplemented with the most updated classification scheme (WHO classification), specimen details, staging as well as information on various ancillary techniques such as cytochemical studies, immunophenotyping, cytogenetics including Fluorescent In-situ Hybridization (FISH) studies and genotyping. We have used a digital synoptic reporting system as part of an existing laboratory information system (LIS), CoPathPlus, from Cerner DHT, Inc. The synoptic elements are presented as discrete data points, so that a data element such as tumor type is assigned from the synoptic value dictionary under the value of tumor type, allowing the user to search for just those cases that have that value point populated.


These synoptic worksheets are implemented for use in our LIS. The data is stored as discrete data elements appear as an accession summary within the final pathology report. In addition, the synoptic data can be exported to research databases for linking pathological details on banked tissues.


Synoptic reporting provides a structured method for entering the diagnostic as well as prognostic information for a particular pathology specimen or sample, thereby reducing transcription services and reducing specimen turnaround time. Furthermore, it provides accurate and consistent diagnostic information dictated by pathologists as a basis for appropriate therapeutic modalities. Using synoptic reports, consistent data elements with minimized typographical and transcription errors can be generated and placed in the LIS relational database, enabling quicker access to desired information and improved communication for appropriate cancer management. The templates will also eventually serve as a conduit for capturing and storing data in the virtual biorepository for translational research. Such uniformity of data lends itself to subsequent ease of data viewing and extraction, as demonstrated by rapid production of standardized, high-quality data from the hemopoietic and lymphoid neoplasm specimens.

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