College of American Pathologists
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  Survey of gynecologic cytopathology practices set
  to begin


CAP Today




August 2010

Joseph Tworek, MD

The CAP, in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will survey current quality practices in gynecologic cytopathology, beginning next month. The results of the detailed survey will be used as the basis for a consensus conference in 2011 that will acknowledge current practices and be a starting point for the development of best-practice guidelines in gynecologic cytopathology. If the results are to reflect the practice of experienced cytology professionals, every laboratory must contribute.

The practice of gynecologic cytopathology is challenging and heavily regulated. While CLIA ’88 mandates many quality assurance measures in gynecologic cytopathology, many unknowns are associated with these measures. We wish to learn:

  • how these measures are routinely used in a QA program.
  • how performance with respect to these measures is monitored.
  • which measures are helpful and which are not helpful.
  • what challenges and barriers cytopathology laboratories face in maintaining a QA program.

Since the inception of CLIA ’88, the field of cytopathology has undergone tremendous change. Testing for human papillomavirus has become routine, and proficiency testing has been implemented. The role of these changes in a QA program is also not well established.

It is the goal of the CAP and CDC to develop a consensus best-practice guideline for QA in gynecologic cytopathology. To do this, your help on this long jour-ney is needed. The journey involves a survey of QA practices in your laboratory, an Internet-based discussion forum of the survey results, a consensus conference, and publication of QA guidelines.

The survey will arrive in September and take about two hours to complete. With it will be information about how to participate in the Internet discussion of the results and how to register for the June 2011 consensus conference. The Internet discussion site and the conference will be open to all cytopathologists and cytotechnologists who wish to comment on their experiences with quality assurance in gynecologic cytopathology.

Dr. Tworek is the primary author of the CAP-CDC Collaborative Gynecologic Practices Survey. He practices pathology at Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital, Ann Arbor, Mich.