Table 3

Formatting requirements for patient-centred pathology reports

Formatting elementKey requirements for patient-centred presentation
Report layout
  • Avoid large blocks of text

  • Use headings (ie, ‘call-and-response’ format) to direct patients to key information elements

Language and text display
  • Use consistent terms or phrasing

  • Keep sentences simple and brief

  • Draw attention to key terms using font styles or colour

Content management
  • Include negative findings

  • State when tests have not been run, are not relevant or may still be pending

  • Provide links to vetted external resources for topics that patients may be likely to explore further

Information flow
  • Move from broad concepts (eg, diagnosis, cancer) to more nuanced concepts (eg, margin status)

  • Provide a ‘bottom line’ to summarise key findings from the report