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Needle biopsies are performed increasingly for the primary diagnosis of breast disease, particularly in patients with mammographic or ultrasound abnormalities suspicious for malignancy. In a typical workflow the radiologist incorporates the pathologic findings into the radiology report with correlation, requiring a rapid turnaround time for the pathology report in order to expedite patient care. As the goal of these procedures is to expedite surgical intervention in those patients requiring it, often with the assistance of a nurse navigator, many institutions track the turnaround times for biopsy submission, pathologist and radiologist verification of their respective reports, and time to surgery. Notably, there are no established pathology benchmarks for breast needle biopsy turnaround time.


The aims of this study are to:

  • Determine the average turnaround time for image-guided breast needle biopsy specimens, defined as the time from specimen accessioning in the laboratory to verification and release of the final report by the pathologist
  • Identify key elements of processing and reporting that influence the turnaround time, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology/College of American Pathologists guideline for at least six hours of formalin fixation, the relative complexity of establishing benign, atypical/borderline, and malignant diagnoses, and the frequent need for additional studies, including additional deeper sections, immunohistochemistry, and intradepartmental consultation

Data Collection

Participants will submit data from up to 50 image-guided breast needle biopsy specimens received during the study period, including the time of biopsy (when available), the time the specimen was accessioned in the laboratory, the duration of formalin fixation, and all non-routine studies obtained on the case, as outlined in the objectives above. The final pathologic diagnosis will also be recorded in order to stratify turnaround times with regard to benign, atypical/borderline, and malignant diagnoses, if sufficient data is provided.

Performance Indicators

  • Time from specimen accessioning in the laboratory to final pathologist report

Shipping Schedule

D Mailing: August 31, 2020

Additional Information

This is a one-time study conducted in the fourth quarter.

Q-PROBES qualify for Self-Reported Training Opportunities to be used for fulfilling requirements for certification maintenance by agencies such as the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). Please verify with your certifying agency to determine your education requirements.

For Comprehensive Collection of Tools, see Quality Management Tools.

Select Q-PROBES and Q-TRACKS studies to support your quality improvement initiatives.
Anatomic Pathology
Clinical Pathology
Turnaround Time
Patient Safety
Transfusion Medicine
Chemistry/ Hematology
Customer Satisfaction
Technical Competency Assessment of Peripheral Blood Smears (QP201)
Red Blood Cell Utilization: Single and Double Unit Transfusions (QP202)
Inpatient Test Utilization and Volume Benchmarking (QP203)
Turnaround Time for Image with Guided Breast Needle Biopsy Specimens (QP204)
Patient Identification Accuracy (QT1)
Blood Culture Contamination (QT2)
Laboratory Specimen Acceptability (QT3)
In-Date Blood Product Wastage (QT4)
Gynecologic Cytology Outcomes: Biopsy Correlation Performance (QT5)
Satisfaction with Outpatient Specimen Collection (QT7)
Stat Test Turnaround Time Outliers (QT8)
Critical Values Reporting (QT10)
Troponin Turnaround Times (QT15)
Corrected Results (QT16)
Outpatient Order Entry Errors (QT17)

*The CAP requires accredited laboratories to have a quality management plan that covers all areas of the laboratory and includes benchmarking key measures of laboratory performance (GEN.13806, GEN.20316, COM.04000). The Joint Commission requires accredited hospitals to regularly collect and analyze performance data (PI.01.01.01, PI.02.01.01). CLIA requires laboratories to monitor, assess, and correct problems identified in preanalytic, analytic, and postanalytic systems (§493.1249, §493.1289, §493.1299).