College of American Pathologists
Printable Version

  Fields of View online—what it is, how it works


CAP Today




January 2012
Cytopathology And More

Nicole E. Thomas, MPH, CT(ASCP)cm
Barbara Blond, MBA, MT(ASCP)

The CAP released last May a new online educational program called Fields of View. FOV, as it’s known, helps participants understand the workflow of reviewing gynecologic cytology cases using an image-assisted instrument and provides the opportunity to interpret the cases. Though the image-assisted “instrument” used in the program is generic, there are two different modules that use five SurePath or ThinPrep virtual slides. The exercise and result form are completed entirely online.

The concept behind the program is simple: A primary screener is taken to the predetermined fields of view and can mark the slide as he or she traverses it. If any marks are made, he or she reviews those marks and then is taken to the edge of the slide to perform a full manual review, using the mouse to navigate through the entire slide. Using an online result form, the participant answers a number of questions and provides an interpretation for each case. Once the primary screener completes the educational activity, the reference diagnosis is displayed, for immediate feedback, within the FOV viewer. When the primary screener is done, a secondary screener can review the primary screener’s cases and make additional marks. Secondary screeners can also review a cytotechnologist’s result form before opening their own kits and completing the activity themselves. The workflow is in many ways similar to the workflow a laboratory would have with a real image-assisted instrument.

The Fields of View program has a few notable features. One is that real-life experience with an image-assisted instrument is not needed to complete the program. Kit instructions, along with an online user guide, help orient participants to the educational activity. A second feature is the opportunity for collaborative discussion of the cases, similar to that provided in other CAP educational activities. When a pathologist marks a cytotechnologist’s kit, the marks are a different color and shape than the cytotechnologist’s marks. This makes it possible for the cytotechnologist to see the fields a pathologist thought were of interest. This way, pathologists and cytotechnologists can view both sets of marks and review the cases together. This type of learning experience can help those with little experience in digital cytopathology get acclimated to the nuances of viewing cases online. Additionally, there is a question for each case about the appropriate patient management recommendation—a new learning opportunity.

More than 200 participants enrolled in the inaugural mailing of the FOV program, and many provided feedback. Some called it an “excellent educational activity” that “mimics workflow very well” and a “valuable resource.” Some commented on the use of the darker Pap stain, which is used with image location instruments, and the inability to focus through layers of cells.

To enroll, call the CAP at 800-832-4040, option 1.

Nicole Thomas, Cytopathology Committee staff, is a CAP cytotechnologist specialist, Surveys. Barbara Blond is a CAP manager, Surveys.

Related Links Related Links

The USFNA Advanced Practical Pathology Program (USFNA AP3) 2012 workshops, March 10–12, San Francisco, and September 29-30, Englewood, New Jersey, provide board-certified pathologists with the opportunity to master specialized FNA biopsies breast and thyroid biopsies using soft-tissue phantoms. Participants also gain the essential background to introduce USFNA services at their institutions.
Learn more. Register.