Indexed on: 03 Sep '21Published on: 10 Dec '19Published in: Archives of pathology & laboratory medicine
Clinical decision support (CDS) systems could assist less experienced pathologists with certain diagnostic tasks for which subspecialty training or extensive experience is typically needed. The effect of decision support on pathologist performance for such diagnostic tasks has not been examined. To examine the impact of a CDS tool for the classification of ovarian carcinoma subtypes by pathology trainees in a pilot observer study using digital pathology. Histologic review on 90 whole slide images from 75 ovarian cancer patients was conducted by 6 pathology residents using: (1) unaided review of whole slide images, and (2) aided review, where in addition to whole slide images observers used a CDS tool that provided information about the presence of 8 histologic features important for subtype classification that were identified previously by an expert in gynecologic pathology. The reference standard of ovarian subtype consisted of majority consensus from a panel of 3 gynecologic pathology experts. Aided review improved pairwise concordance with the reference standard for 5 of 6 observers, by 3.3% to 17.8% (for 2 observers, increase was statistically significant) and mean interobserver agreement by 9.2% (not statistically significant). Observers benefited the most when the CDS tool prompted them to look for missed histologic features that were definitive for a certain subtype. Observer performance varied widely across cases with unanimous and nonunanimous reference classification, supporting the need for balancing data sets in terms of case difficulty. Findings showed the potential of CDS systems to close the knowledge gap between pathologists for complex diagnostic tasks.