This study qualitatively explored and described pathologists’ attitudes toward patient interaction.
In a survey to pathologists, we asked, “How interested would you be in meeting with patients to discuss their pathology report and show them microscopic images of their tissue?” Then, we asked “Why,” followed by a free-text box. We asked pathologists to assume that their time would be adequately compensated and that patients’ treating clinicians had already told them their diagnosis. Physician age, gender, rank, and type of practice were also collected.
We surveyed 197 pathologists, 86% of whom were either definitely interested or interested in meeting with patients. Interest level did not differ by age, gender, or rank but was higher in academic practices than in community practices. Thematic analysis showed that pathologists believed that meeting with patients could impact (1) patients, through cognitive and emotional pathways; (2) pathologists, through patient contact and job satisfaction; and (3) the field of pathology, through quality of care and a redefined image of the specialty.
Pathologists’ interest level in meeting with patients was high. Potential impacts on patients, pathologists, and the field of pathology were identified.

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