How overworked are pathologists? An assessment of cases for histopathology and cytopathology services

Hye Kyoung Yoon, Michele H. Diwa, Youn Soo Lee, Gwangil Kim, Sang Yong Song, Kyoung Bun Lee, Han Kyeom Kim, Woon Sup Han, Jeong Wook Seo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background and aim: The objective of this paper is to evaluate the workload of staff in anatomic pathology (AP) laboratories in Korea. Methods: A survey was conducted at 197 AP laboratories in South Korea, these were categorized as 37 free standing laboratories, 14 laboratories in non-training hospitals (without residents), 79 in training hospitals (with residents), and 67 in university hospitals. The workloads of the staff were analyzed using the mean and standard deviation of the number of cases. Results: In total, there were 512 pathologists, 806 technicians and 205 cytopathology screeners. In a year, they processed a total of 3,150,261 histopathology cases and 4,115,420 cytopathology cases. The numbers of histopathology cases per pathologist or technician in one laboratory were 6,950 ± 6,748 and 4,074 ± 3,630, respectively. There were 109 laboratories that employed 205 cytoscreeners in addition to the 308 pathologists, where a cytoscreener read 14,780 ± 13,110 cases of cytopathology. However, in 88 laboratories, there were 132 pathologists who were not assisted by cytoscreeners, where a pathologist was reading 4,277 ± 3,033 cases of cytopathology. Conclusion: We propose a mean plus a standard deviation as a recommended guideline for staff workload at each laboratory setting to be used for a quality assurance program.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-117
Number of pages7
JournalBasic and Applied Pathology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Dec
Externally publishedYes


  • Healthcare
  • Pathology
  • Quality assurance
  • Surgical
  • Workload

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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