Home Events Uncertainty in Pathology and How to Report It

Uncertainty in Pathology and How to Report It


April 06 2022


1:00 pm - 2:30 pm


  • Dr. Martin Hyrcza
    Dr. Martin Hyrcza

    Dr Hyrcza is a molecular biologist and a pathologist. He has completed a combined MD/PhD program at the University of Toronto, after which he trained in anatomical pathology at the University of British Columbia. He then finished a combined Head and Neck / Endocrine Pathology Fellowship in Toronto. He is an assistant professor at the University of Calgary and is currently a consultant pathologist in Head and Neck, Ophthalmic, & Endocrine Pathology at the Foothills Medical Center and Rockyview General Hospital in Calgary. Dr Hyrcza’s research interest include molecular pathology of salivary and lacrimal gland tumours and squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.

Communication of uncertainty of pathological diagnosis can significantly impact the interpretation of pathology reports and therefore affect patient care.

Despite this, the topic has not been studied extensively to-date. We have undertaken a survey of pathologists’ attitudes to reporting uncertainty in their reports. Building on the results of the survey, the seminar will examine the following questions: 1) whether uncertainty should be reported; 2) the reasons for reporting uncertainty; 3) how it should be reported; 4) the mechanisms used to report it; 5) the confidence pathologists have that the physicians understood the implied uncertainty; 6) if there should be a standardized system of reporting diagnostic uncertainty; and 7) what could such standardized
systems look like.

Current literature on this topic will be summarized.


At the end of this session participants will be able to:

  • Relate the importance of conveying the uncertainty of the diagnosis in the pathology reports
  • Assess the methods pathologists currently use to convey uncertainty
  • Describe the pitfalls of the current methods of communicating uncertainty in pathology reports