College of American Pathologists
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  Discovering best practices in gyn cytopathology


CAP Today




January 2010
PAP/NGC Programs Review

Barbara Blond, MBA, MT(ASCP)
MariBeth Gagnon, CMS, CT(ASCP)HTL

In a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CAP has received funding to perform an evaluation of current practices in reporting gynecologic cytology test results and cytology proficiency testing. The purpose of the agreement is to collect information from laboratories that offer gynecologic cytopathology to develop an inventory of practices and then to evaluate the findings to determine best practices.

The identified best practices will be vetted through Internet discussions open to the laboratory community and made final at a consensus conference of stakeholder organizations.

The CAP, with the CDC’s input, will construct a questionnaire to gather information about current laboratory practices in gynecologic cytopathology. The CAP will send the questionnaire beginning in June to laboratories that have CLIA licenses in gynecologic cytopathology. Laboratories will be asked to provide details about various aspects of gynecologic cytology practices and personnel education, and about how quality monitors are best applied. The questionnaire will also investigate current practices that correlate HPV positivity with cytology results and explore how the results of gynecologic cytology PT are used in the laboratory.

The findings of the survey will be posted on the CAP Web site and comments will be requested. After the comments are received, the CAP will collaborate with a variety of stakeholder groups and individuals within cytopathology and federal government organizations to establish a framework for a consensus best-practice quality assurance program. The CAP plans to have a consensus meeting of interested organizations and individuals in 2011.

The CAP will keep cytopathology laboratories informed of progress made on the questionnaire, consensus group discussions, and outcomes through CAP TODAY, the Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, and other resources.

Barbara Blond is CAP manager, Surveys. MariBeth Gagnon is in the Laboratory Practice Standards Branch, Division of Laboratory Systems, CDC.