QIM21-088: Recommendations for Improvement of Turnaround Time in Rectal Adenocarcinoma Specimens: A Retrospective Study of 53 Cases

Authors: Saman S. Karimi MD, MS1 and Dr. Maria F. Gonzalez MD1
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  • 1 University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL

Introduction: Efficiency and adequacy in reporting diagnoses and molecular alterations in surgical pathology specimens have a direct impact on patient care. We conducted a retrospective study to assess the turnaround time (TAT) of rectal specimens at our institution. We examined 53 rectal specimens received from 2016 to 2020. We compared our TAT with a theoretical TAT for our institution. We share our findings in hopes that our experience will assist other institutions in identifying potential targets to improve and implement changes. Methodology: All patients with a diagnosis of rectal adenocarcinoma treated surgically at The University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System between 2016 and 2020 were included in our study, after institutional review board approval. A total of 53 cases were retrieved. We obtained all time-points from time of collection to final diagnosis. Results: We identified that the most common delay was in the number of days from specimen delivery to report, which is an expected delay in academic institutions (Figure 1). However, time can be used efficiently to assess the need for additional levels, sections, stains, and ordering molecular testing. This approach will decrease the TAT by 1-2 days and will allow residents to take ownership of their cases and graduated responsibilities. Conclusions: An appropriate TAT will provide a timely diagnosis and management of patients with rectal carcinoma. We recommend ordering molecular testing on all biopsy-proven rectal cancer cases on the grossing day or the next day during resident preview time.


Corresponding Author: Saman S. Karimi, MD, MS
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