To characterize the attitudes of treating clinicians toward pathology explanation clinics (PECs).
Clinicians from a tertiary care academic medical center were asked, “How interested would you be in having your patient meet with a pathologist to discuss their pathology report and see their tissue under the microscope?” Clinicians ranked their interest, then expanded on concerns and benefits in a semistructured interview. Audio recordings of interviews were transcribed and analyzed using a qualitative thematic approach.
A total of 35 clinicians were interviewed, with 83% reporting some level of interest in PECs. Clinicians felt that highly educated and motivated patients were most likely to benefit from a PEC. Clinicians recognized that PECs could improve understanding and emotional processing but that the patient’s information needs must be balanced with the potential for cognitive overload and emotional distress. When integrating the pathologist into the care team, clinicians worried about the pathologist’s communication skills, care fragmentation, and increased clinician workload. If performed well, clinicians felt PECs had the potential to increase clinician efficacy and improve quality of care.
Overall, clinicians are interested in PECs when they fulfill a patient’s information needs and are optimally performed.

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