An Investigation Into Patient Understanding of Pathology Reports

Study Information

Title of Study: An investigation into patient understanding of pathology reports

Principal Investigator (PI): Erica Worswick           

Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Mark Fung

Funder: Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC)



You are being invited to take part in this research study because you had a previous diagnosis of cancer. This study is being conducted by Erica Worswick, a medical student at the University of Vermont.



Pathologists are medical doctors who specialize in diagnosing disease, including cancer. When someone is thought to have cancer, a pathologist looks at their cells and tissue under a microscope to provide an accurate diagnosis to guide health care decisions. This diagnosis is written in a pathology report. The pathologists at the UVMMC are interested in learning how well people understand the information we put in these reports and what tools might be used to improve understanding for future patients. Our eventual goal is to improve communication from the Pathology Department and to make sure all patients have the tools they need to understand their diagnosis.


Study Procedures

If you take part in the study, you will be asked to fill out a survey, which will ask you questions about you’re your experiences with the pathology report that initially explained your diagnosis, as well as resources you found helpful in explaining this diagnosis and any suggestions you might have to improve readability of this report. This is a one-time survey which will take approximately 10-15 minutes to fill out.



As a participant in this research study, there may not be direct benefit for you; however, information from this study may benefit other people now or in the future.



We will do our best to protect the information we collect from you during this study.  We will not collect any information that will identify you to further protect your confidentiality and avoid any potential risk for an accidental breach of confidentiality.



There will be no costs to you for participation in this research study.



You will not be paid for taking part in this study.



All information collected about you during the course of this study will be stored without any identifiers. No one will be able to match you to your answers. 


Voluntary Participation/Withdrawal

Taking part in this study is voluntary.  You are free to not answer any questions or withdraw at any time. You may choose not to take part in this study, or if you decide to take part, you can change your mind later and withdraw from the study. None of the information collected will affect your care going forward.



If you have any questions about this study now or in the future, you may contact Erica Worswick at If you have questions or concerns about your rights as a research participant, then you may contact the Director of the Research Protections Office at (802) 656-5040.



Your participation is voluntary, and you may refuse to participate without penalty or discrimination at any time. 


You may keep the information on this page for your records.

There are 22 questions in this survey.