Gross Dissection Time Values of Pathologists' Assistants Using Standardized Metrics

V. Volel
T. Kothari, Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell
D. Groppi
C. Alexis, Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell
M. Ragnauth
R. Qureshi
A. Entin
A. Alexander
O. Yaskiv, Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell
J. M. Crawford, Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell
N. Kohn, Northwell Health
T. Bhuiya, Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell


© 2019 American Society for Clinical Pathology, 2019. All rights reserved. A validated and objective method to quantify the gross dissection time of pathologists' assistants (PAs) does not exist. We propose a method to calculate standardized work units (dissection time values [DTVs]) to monitor PA productivity. Methods: The Current Procedural Terminology system specifies six levels of specimen complexity encompassing 176 unique specimen types. Using our institutional dictionary, we designated all specimen types into a priori five levels of complexity based on expected dissection time. We hypothesized that expected time could be matched prospectively with the actual measured dissection time for all specimens. Dissection time data were collected prospectively for 12,775 specimens at two tertiary academic medical centers, and work effort was converted to a numeric DTV equivalent (number of minutes to dissect single specimen/420 minutes in a working day). Results: For 44 of 155 specimen types, measured dissection time for the five "levels" was lower than expected dissection (P <. 0001). Accordingly, those 44 specimen types were reclassified to a lower level. Conclusions: A numeric standard of the work effort for dissection time for 155 specimen types was developed, validated, and then used prospectively to monitor grossing efficiency of PA workforce.