Improved cytodiagnostics and quality of patient care through double reading of selected cases by an expert cytopathologist

Chantal C.H.J. Kuijpers, Mike Visser, Daisy M.D.S. Sie-Go, Henk de Leeuw, Mathilda J. de Rooij, Paul J. van Diest, Mehdi Jiwa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Double reading may be a valuable tool for improving the quality of patient care by restoring diagnostic errors before final sign-out, but standard double reading would significantly increase costs of pathology. The aim of this study was to assess the added value of routine double reading of defined categories of clinical cytology specimens by specialized cytopathologists. Specialized cytopathologists routinely re-diagnosed blinded defined categories of clinical cytology specimens that had been signed out by routine pathologists from January 2012 up to December 2013. Major and minor discordance rates between initial and expert diagnoses were determined, and both diagnoses were validated by comparison with same-site histological follow-up. Initial and expert diagnoses were concordant in 131/218 specimens (60.1 %). Major and minor discordances were present in 28 (12.8 %) and 59 (27.1 %) specimens, respectively. Pleural fluid, thyroid and urine specimens showed the highest major discordance rates (19.4, 19.2 and 16.7 %, respectively). Histological follow-up (where possible) supported the expert diagnosis in 95.5 % of specimens. Our implemented double reading strategy of defined categories of cytology specimens showed major discordance in 12.8 % of specimens. The expert diagnosis was supported in 95.5 % of discordant cases where histological follow-up was available. This indicates that this double reading strategy is worthwhile and contributes to better cytodiagnostics and quality of patient care, especially for suspicious pleural fluid, thyroid and urine specimens. Our results emphasize that cytopathology is a subspecialization of pathology and requires specialized cytopathologists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)617-624
Number of pages8
JournalVirchows Archiv
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 10 2015


  • Cytopathology
  • Diagnostic accuracy
  • Patient safety
  • Quality assurance
  • Subspecialization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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