A multistep approach to improving biopsy site identification in dermatology: Physician, staff, and patient roles based on a Delphi consensus

Murad Alam, Andy Lee, Omar A. Ibrahimi, Natalie Kim, Jeremy Bordeaux, Karen Chen, Scott Dinehart, David J. Goldberg, C. William Hanke, George J. Hruza, Kishwer S. Nehal, Suzanne M. Olbricht, Jeffrey Orringer, Thomas E. Rohrer, Noah S. Scheinfeld, Chrysalyne D. Schmults, John M. Strasswimmer, James S. Taylor, Simon Yoo, Michael NodzenskiEmily Poon, Todd Cartee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


IMPORTANCE: Excisional skin cancer surgery is a common procedure, with no formal consensus for mitigating the risk of wrong-site cutaneous surgery. OBJECTIVE: To systematically consider the usefulness and feasibility of proposed methods for correct biopsy site identification in dermatology. EVIDENCE REVIEW: Survey study with a formal consensus process. Item development was via a literature review and expert interviews, followed by 2 stages of a Delphi process to develop consensus recommendations. FINDINGS: In total, 2323 articles were reviewed in the literature search, with data extraction from 14. Twenty-five experts underwent 30-minute structured interviews, which were transcribed and coded. The resulting survey was composed of 42 proposed interventions by multiple stakeholders (biopsying physicians, operating physicians, nurses, ancillary staff, patients, caregivers, and family members) at 3 time points (day of biopsy, delay and consultation period, and day of definitive surgery). Two rounds of a Delphi process with 59 experts (25 academic and 34 private practice) scored the survey. Strong consensus was obtained on 14 behaviors, and moderate consensus was obtained on 21 other behaviors. In addition, a 2-state simultaneous algorithm was developed to model surgeon behavior on the day of definitive surgery based on surgeon and patient perceptions. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: When definitive surgery is performed after the initial biopsy and by a different surgeon, procedures can be implemented at several time points to increase the likelihood of correct site identification. The specific circumstances of a case suggest which methods may be most appropriate and feasible, and some may be implemented. The risk of wrong-site cutaneous surgery can be reduced but not eliminated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)550-558
Number of pages9
JournalJAMA Dermatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Dermatology


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