Characteristics and diagnostic performance of pathologists who enjoy interpreting melanocytic lesions

Andrea C. Radick, Amanda I. Phipps, Michael W. Piepkorn, Heidi D. Nelson, Raymond L. Barnhill, David E. Elder, Lisa M. Reisch, Paul D. Frederick, Joann G. Elmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Diagnostic discrepancy among pathologists interpreting melanocytic skin lesions (MSL) is an ongoing concern for patient care. Given that job satisfaction could impact patient care, this study aimed to characterize which pathologists enjoy interpreting MSL and estimate the association between enjoyment and diagnostic accuracy. Pathologists' demographics, training, and experience were obtained by a cross-sectional survey. Associations between these characteristics and self-reported enjoyment when interpreting MSL were estimated by Pearson's Chi-square tests. Diagnostic accuracy was determined by comparing pathologists' MSL interpretations with reference standard diagnoses. Associations between enjoyment and diagnostic accuracy were evaluated by generalized estimating equations (GEE) models. One hundred and eighty-seven (90%) pathologists completed the study. Seventy percent agreed that interpreting MSL is enjoyable. Pathologists who enjoyed interpreting MSL were more likely to be board certified and/or fellowship trained in dermatopathology (P=0.008), have ≥10 years of experience (P=0.010) and have an MSL caseload of ≥60 per month (P=<0.001). After adjustment, there was no association between enjoyment and diagnostic accuracy. Our data suggest that job dissatisfaction does not adversely affect diagnostic accuracy in the interpretation of melanocytic lesions, which is of importance given the progressive increase in annual biopsy rates and the attendant work demands imposed on pathologists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3
JournalDermatology Online Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • Dermatopathology
  • Diagnostic performance
  • Melanocytic skin lesions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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