College of American Pathologists
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  Soon, a survey of gyn cytopathology practices


CAP Today




May 2010
PAP/NGC Programs Review

Michael R. Henry, MD

All laboratories that have CLIA licenses in gynecologic cytopathology should expect to receive a question-naire this summer.

The CAP has a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to perform an evaluation of current practices in reporting gynecologic cytology test results and cytology proficiency testing (“Discovering best practices in gyn cytopathology,” CAP TODAY, January 2010). Laboratories will be asked to provide details about various gynecologic cytology practices, such as rescreening, retrospective lookbacks, and how quality monitors are applied within the laboratory, as well as HPV rates. The questionnaire will also ask about practices that correlate HPV positivity with cytology results and how the results of gynecologic cytology PT are used to evaluate screening personnel.

It is hoped that the information obtained from this comprehensive survey will make it possible to develop an inventory of practices that can be used to determine those that are best quality.

The CAP, with input from the CDC and other stakeholders such as the American Society of Cytopathology, constructed a questionnaire to gather the information. The survey is extensive; significant effort will be needed to complete it. It is being piloted now to a limited number of laboratories, and information obtained from the pilot will be used to determine the final form of the survey.

The survey findings 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 about the questionnaire, consensus group discussions, and outcomes through CAP TODAY, the Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, and other resources.

Dr. Henry, a member of the CAP Cytopathology Committee, is director of cytology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.