Laboratory Administration
Leading / Interfacing
Relating / Connecting to clinicians

Author: Richard Horowitz, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 25 January 2017, last major update April 2013

Copyright: (c) 2003-2017,, Inc.

Cite this page: Relating / Connecting to clinicians. website. Accessed October 22nd, 2018.
  • Pathologists are "Information Specialists"; they do not perform surgery, prescribe or administer medications; they provide information that other physicians use to diagnose and treat
  • The effective transmittal of that information demands interpersonal and communication skills and requires interfacing with the pathologists’ prime information recipient - the clinicians
  • The pathologist's relationship to other physicians is that of colleague, consultant, friend and educator but requires diplomacy, empathy and humility
  • Remember you are a physician first and a pathologist second
  • Comport yourself and dress like the clinicians
  • Have knowledge and experience in clinical medicine and patient care
  • Know how to use the laboratory to solve clinical problems
  • Be sensitive to the unique problems of clinicians
  • Be informed about key and critical patients
Some Things to Do
  • Obtain a locker in the Surgeon's dressing room and change into scrubs there - like the other docs do
  • Make "rounds" in the Doctor's Dining Room twice a day - at morning "break" time and at lunch; never eat lunch by yourself, behind your desk in the basement
  • Make your office a welcoming place for clinicians to come and look at the slides of their patients' biopsies or just to come and chat
  • Personally call all critical surgical pathology diagnoses - but don't only call the surgeon, also call the primary care physician who referred to patient for surgery in the first place
  • Establish a computerized system of critical values in clinical pathology and pro-actively call the attending physician with the results, but be aware of the sensitivity, specificity, predictive value and interfering substances of the test before calling
  • Establish a system for complaint management and conflict resolution; handle complaints yourself - do not delegate; when a problem arises, always thank the individual who brings it to your attention
  • Develop social connections with clinical colleagues