Immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence utilization audit by subspecialty in an academic setting: A step toward stewardship

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There are immunohistochemistry (IHC) and immunofluorescence (IF) panels described in the literature and established by personal and institutional experiences that are in common use by pathologists in their daily practice. Stewardship is a difficult discussion because IHC utilization is influenced by many factors including the pathologist's experience, background, practice setting, personal bias, and medicolegal culture. We developed the methodology to audit the IHC/IF utilization in our academic subspecialty practice. We aim to share this methodology and to provide our data that can be used for consideration by other subspecialized academic practices. This analysis included a total of 63,157 specimens that were accessioned during 2022, representing 38,612 cases. The likelihood of ordering IHC/IF ranged from 1 % (in genitourinary pathology) to 59 % (in renal pathology). The average percentage of specimens with IHC/IF was 21 % for the entire practice. In cases where IHC/IF was ordered, the number of stained slides averaged 4.9 per specimen for the entire practice. The number of IHC/IF slides per specimen ranged from 1.9 (in gastrointestinal pathology) to 12.2 (in renal pathology). The highest number of antibodies ordered for a single specimen by subspecialty ranged from 11 (in cardiac pathology) to 63 (in dermatopathology). Renal pathology was the only subspecialty that had an average number of IHC/IF slides that was statistically significantly different from all other subspecialties. We described the various patterns of utilization by subspecialty and rationalized their subtle differences. We also analyzed the types of cases that exceeded the reimbursement limits set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number152214
JournalAnnals of Diagnostic Pathology
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023


  • Immunofluorescence
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Laboratory audit
  • Stewardship
  • Subspecialty practice
  • Utilization

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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