Short Courses and Special Courses

SC04 - Autopsy in the 21st Century: An Update for Pathologists Performing Hospital Autopsies Today

Friday, March 23, 2018 - 8:00 am - 11:30 am
This Short Course session includes up to a half-hour break.

Session Credits:

3 CME and 3 SAMs


Jody E. Hooper, MD, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore MD
Alex. K. Williamson, MD, Northwell Health / Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine, Long Island, NY

Course Description

Most pathologists tasked with performing autopsies in an academic or community practice must rely on skills they learned in residency, and continuing medical educational opportunities in autopsy pathology have been scarce. Costs of providing hospital autopsy services are usually absorbed by a healthcare institution or system, and consequently it has become vitally important for pathologists to demonstrate the effectiveness and value of an autopsy service in today’s healthcare environment. Autopsy practice in the modern era can complement advances in medicine; for example, molecular testing of postmortem samples can contribute to accurate diagnoses, benefit living relatives, and help researchers unravel pathways in neoplasia. This course is designed to reinforce, update, and advance participant’s knowledge of and ability to practice hospital autopsy pathology. The course will review a wide range of topics including diagnostic discrepancy rates, options for assigning value to the professional component of autopsy pathology, and the intersection of hospital autopsies with the medicolegal realm. Updates on special dissections, appropriate use and performance of postmortem testing, and procurement of tissue for research protocols will be presented. Case examples will be used to illustrate ways in which pathologists can thoughtfully compose autopsy reports, effectively communicate with clinicians, families, and lawyers, and successfully incorporate autopsy data into quality improvement initiatives. This course is designed for general and subspecialty pathologists instructing, performing, signing out, and consulting in autopsy pathology, pathology residents and interested medical students, as well as medical researchers interested in the utilization of postmortem tissue.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this educational activity, the learner will be able to:

  • Understand how current autopsy trends, hospital autopsy rates, and diagnostic discrepancy rates can help inform and shape clinical care, quality assurance programs, and medical education
  • Effectively compose autopsy reports and communicate the findings with clinicians, families, and lawyers
  • Consider ways to assign professional value for time spent engaged with autopsy pathology
  • Perform a complete, competent, and thoughtful autopsy, including appropriate and optimal specimen collection for ancillary testing and research protocols.


Continuing Medical Education and Maintenance of Certification

The United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology designates this live activity for a maximum of 3 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

The USCAP is approved by the American Board of Pathology (ABP) to offer Self-Assessment credits (SAMs) for the purpose of meeting the ABP requirements for Maintenance of Certification (MOC). Physicians must take and pass the post-test in order to claim SAMs credit.

Physicians can earn a maximum of 3 SAM credit hours.


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