College of American Pathologists
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  See rare and unusual cases, and earn CME online


CAP Today




January 2010
PAP/NGC Programs Review

Ann T. Moriarty, MD
Lisa Fatheree, BS, SCT(ASCP)

The CAP has virtual cytology, and if you participate already in the Pap or the nongynecologic cytopathology education programs, the additional CME is free as part of your original program.

The Pap and NGC programs offer four different CME opportunities. Participants review a virtual slide, identify the cells of interest, enter a general and a specific diagnosis, answer questions, and receive immediate educational feedback.

The online cases provide the opportunity to see examples of rare or interesting diagnoses that are not readily available in the glass slide programs. Members of the Cytopathology Committee have chosen cases that are unusual and pose difficult diagnostic or clinical problems. Examples from previous years include adenosarcoma, the clinical issues surrounding ASC-H, and atypical parakeratosis from the Pap program. Interesting cases such as insular carcinoma of thyroid, gastrointestinal stroma tumor, and Mollaret’s meningitis were included in the NGC program. It is a potpourri of cases meant to provide a valuable educational experience for all.

Customers can access the cases anywhere that has an Internet connection—from work, home, or on the road—until Dec. 15. The virtual slide download requires Java, Active X, or Flash technology with pop-up blockers turned off. Institutional limitations may make it impossible for everyone to fully access these virtual slides, but there is a low-tech solution: static images for every case, which ensures that all customers can participate.

Taking the virtual challenge is a simple process. You need your kit ID and CAP numbers from any 2010 Pap or nongyn cytopathology education mailing.

Go to and log in with your individual user ID and pass-word.

If you are unsure whether you have an individual Web account with the CAP, or do not remember your user ID and password, click on the “Forgot your user ID or password?” link. You can enter the requested security information and the system will recognize you and log you in, or you can enter your last name and e-mail address so the system can send you a temporary ID and password.

If you do not have an individual Web account, click on the Create an Account link. Complete and submit the account request form. You will be notified within one business day that your individual account has been activated.

Go to the Education Programs tab. Under “Course Catalog,” click the Anatomic Pathology link. This will bring up the anatomic pathology course catalog section.

Click the Nongynecologic Cytopathology (NGC) or the Pap PT (Gynecologic Cytology PT Program) and Pap Education link.

Locate the activity and click the Register and then the Submit buttons. This will bring up the validation or purchase screen.

Enter the kit ID and seven-digit CAP numbers on your mailing and click Submit. These numbers can be found under the bar code in the header of the Pap result form. A kit ID number is only needed the first time you access the activity. Once you begin the course, you can re-enter it as often as you want until December.

Click the Start button next to the activity title. Read and follow the instructions provided online to complete the activity.

From your Training Schedule’s Current Registrations view, locate the end-of-course evaluation for this activity and click the Start button next to the evaluation title. Read and follow the instructions provided online to complete the evaluation.

Once the activity and evaluation are complete, you can claim credit and access your certificate through your Training Schedule’s Completed Registrations view.

If you have technical difficulties, call the customer contact center at 800-323-4040 for assistance.

Each case includes a clinical vignette, a virtual slide, still images that supplement the original case or explain the differential diagnosis, and multiple-choice questions that are interactive. Even making a wrong choice will teach you something about the entity that is pre-sented.

Nothing can replace the educational value of real glass slides at this time, but virtual microscopy education gives many individuals the opportunity to see rare or unusual cases. It also is an opportunity to participate in evolving technology.

The CAP also has a separate Online Digital Slide Program in Fine Needle Aspiration. This online-only program focuses on FNA diagnostic dilemmas using the same format as described above. To order the FNA program, see page 200 in the 2010 Surveys catalog.

Dr. Moriarty, chair of the CAP Cytopathology Committee, is with AmeriPath-Indiana, Indianapolis. Lisa Fatheree is a CAP cytotechnology technical specialist.