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CAP Home > CAP Reference Resources and Publications > CAP Public Policy Compendium > Definition of Quality Assurance, Quality Control, and Quality Improvement

  Definition of Quality Assurance, Quality Control,
  and Quality Improvement


The College of American Pathologists endorses the following definitions of quality assurance, quality control, and quality improvement:

Quality assurance in pathology and laboratory medicine is the practice of assessing performance in all steps of the laboratory testing cycle including pre-analytic, analytic, and post-analytic phases to promote excellent outcomes in medical care.

Quality control is an integral component of quality assurance and is the aggregate of processes and techniques to detect, reduce, and correct deficiencies in an analytical process.

Quality improvement is the practice of continuously assessing and adjusting performance using statistically and scientifically accepted procedures.

Revision History

Reaffirmed August 1992
Reaffirmed February 1996
Revised August 1996
Reaffirmed August 1999
Reaffirmed November 2005
Reaffirmed November 2009
Reaffirmed September 2013

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