The autopsy in quality assurance: History, current status, and future directions

Academic Article


  • Autopsy rates have fallen from 50% in the 1940s to 14% in 1985, in part due to the belief that modern diagnostic technology has reduced the autopsy's value. Yet recent studies indicate this belief is erroneous: treatable, major unexpected findings were identified in 7% to 13% of cases, and 9-31% of cases revealed other major unexpected findings. Issues that must be addressed to maximize the autopsy's value as a quality assessment tool include: standardized classification of discrepancies between clinical diagnoses and autopsy findings; selection bias for autopsy cases; systematic use of autopsy information to improve practice; and reimbursement for the cost of autopsies.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Landefeld CS; Goldman L
  • Start Page

  • 42
  • End Page

  • 48
  • Volume

  • 15
  • Issue

  • 2