Critical evaluation of the diagnostic nomenclatures of cervical cytopathological exams used in the Brazilian Unified Health System (SUS)

PURPOSE: to identify the nomenclature for reporting cervical cytological diagnoses used by laboratories which render services to the Brazilian Unified Health System (SUS) and which participate in External Quality Monitoring (MEQ). To evaluate the information acquired from gynecologists of the SUS regarding the various diagnostic classifications that they receive in the cervical cytology diagnostic reports. METHODS: we evaluated 94 cytology reports issued by laboratories which participate in the MEQ in the State of São Paulo, Brazil, and 126 questionnaires applied to gynecologists who work for the SUS. RESULTS: out of the 94 laboratories, 81 (86.2%) use one diagnostic classification: 79 (97.6%) use the Brazilian Nomenclature for Cytological Reports (NBLC), 1 (1.2%) uses the Papanicolaou classification and 1 (1.2%) uses the Richart diagnostic classification. Of the 13 (13.8%) laboratories that use more than one classification, 5 use 2 types and 8 use 3 to 4 types, with 9 including the Papanicolau diagnostic classification. The study showed that 52 (55.3%) laboratories presented more than one descriptive diagnosis in the same report. Out of the 126 gynecologists who filled out a questionnaire evaluating the cytopathology reports, 78 (61.9 %) stated that they received laboratory reports with only one diagnostic classification, 48 (38.1%) received reports with more than one classification and 2 received reports with all 4 classifications. Among the 93 (73.8%) gynecologists who prefer only one classification, 56 (60.2%) claimed that the NBLC contributes to clinical practice, 13 (14.0%) opted for the Richart classification, 8 (8.6%) for the Reagan classification and 16 (17.2%) for the Papanicolaou classification. Out of 33 (26.2%) gynecologists who prefer more than one classification, 5 opted for the 4 classifications. CONCLUSIONS: these data suggest that there is still resistance on the part of pathologists about using the official nomenclature in cytology reports for SUS. There is discrepancy between the information that gynecologists would like to see in the reports and the information provided by the pathologists. Greater efforts should be made to stimulate the use of the official nomenclature.

Sistematized nomenclature of medicine Medical records; Vaginal smears; Quality control; Unified health system

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