The American Medical Association Council on Long Range Planning and Development has identified trends in the environment of medicine and has assessed their likely implications for the pathology specialty. Competition and economic pressures focused on the hospital setting are likely to continue to affect the choice of delivery site for pathology practice. During the past decade, the pathology specialty has been subject to extensive regulation, placing a new focus on the role of the laboratory within the hospital and generating new ventures for the provision of pathology services. A continuing challenge to the specialty is management innovation and adaptation in the face of regulatory restrictions and cost-containment experiments. The significant forces for change affecting the demand for services and the shape of future provision of pathology services include rapid advances in technology and scientific knowledge, funding for biomedical research, training for research pathologists, demographic trends in the population, and medical liability trends. Finally, with renewed emphasis on quality of care in the health professions, the pathology specialty has the potential to make substantial contributions to the quality and art of medical practice and is likely to remain at the center of efforts to refine methods of quality assessment and implementation.
The Future of Pathology. JAMA. 1987;258(3):370-377. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400030086038