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Pathol Res Pract. 2010 Nov 15;206(11):749-52. doi: 10.1016/j.prp.2010.06.007. Epub 2010 Aug 6.

Experts and performance in histopathology--a study in breast pathology.

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Department of Histopathology, Royal Bournemouth Hospital, Castle Lane East, Bournemouth BH7 7DW, UK.


This study was undertaken to determine if it was possible to identify expertise within Histopathologists (trainees, district general pathologists and pathologists with a special interest in breast disease) using an objective measure of performance. The method of assessment of performance is based on the CWS (Cochran-Weiss-Shanteau) ratio formed by the individual's ability to discriminate between a spectrum of disease categories and their level of inconsistency when assessed at intervals. The slides circulated represented the spectrum of breast disease seen in routine practice. The results demonstrated the average CWS ratio to be lowest in trainees and highest in pathologists with a special interest in breast pathology although there was no statistical difference in the CWS scores obtained between the district general pathologists and pathologists with a special interest. Differences in inconsistency rather than discriminatory ability mainly accounted for the difference in the CWS ratio observed between the groups studied. The study shows that the CWS ratio is potentially a very useful tool in the assessment of pathologists with regard to assessing their progress through training.

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