College of American Pathologists
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  Educational cases online twice a year





November 2007
PAP/NGC Programs Review

Barbara Blond, MBA, MT(ASCP)

Gynecologic (Pap) and nongynecologic (NGC) cytology educational online cases are posted twice a year to reinforce knowledge and offer new learning. Pathologists and cytotechnologists participating in the NGC and Pap Education programs can access these cases for CME/CE at With your CAP number and Pap or NGC kit number in hand:

  • Connect to the CAP Web site at
  • Key your log-in information in the space provided (registration is free).
  • Choose and click on the Education tab.
  • Choose and click on Anatomic Pathology.
  • Choose and click on the course(s) that your laboratory is enrolled in—NGC or Pap or both.

These NGC and Pap online cases are featured because there is participant interest, the cases may be rare, and often the chosen diagnoses cannot be put into Pap glass slidesets. A virtual slide of a rare case can be shared with thousands of people rather than just those in a few laboratories. The Pap glass slide program has strict guidelines, with diagnoses only in the categories of unsatisfactory, negative for intraepithelial lesion, LSIL, and HSIL/malignancy. However, an online Pap case may be a difficult diagnosis or borderline case, such as a differential of ASC-H versus HSIL. The nongynecologic body sites were chosen through a participant interest poll.

With telepathology on the cusp of common use, the online cases give users a chance to try new technology. Individuals will access the virtual slide during the Pap and NGC activities. A little practice time with the virtual image is helpful the first time the slides are used. The user should practice manipulating the slides by dragging the mouse, right-clicking to change the magnifications, and using focus at 40¥ on slides with depth. Users who are unable to download the virtual slide because of firewalls can access important areas of the slide using static images.

How can the laboratory staff best use these cases? Each person should access the cases and work through the patient information, virtual slide, and questions and answers and static images. The individual can claim CME/CE at the end of the activity. Each set of Pap or NGC cases is expected to take up to one hour to complete. There is no limit to the number of people who can access the cases and gain CME/CE with the laboratory CAP and kit numbers.

As a group activity, the cases can be accessed during a lunch roundtable or laboratory in-service. Participants can use online tools to point out areas of interest to the group. The group activity is helpful in situations where individuals do not have Internet access at work, are Internet novices, or have trouble finding time to access the cases. The cases can provoke interesting discussions and subsequent self-education through literature or additional slide review. During the group activity, only one person can claim CME/CE; the other participants can return to the Web site and enter their answers to gain CME/CE credit. Again, there is no limit to the number of people who can access the cases and claim credit with the laboratory CAP and kit numbers.

For those who enjoy the powerful online learning experience and ease of use, the Fine Needle Aspiration Module is a beneficial course. The program features virtual slides, static images, and ancillary data, such as flow cytometry and radiographs. The format consists of easy-to-read questions and answers and multiple choice options. Individuals can access the cases or a laboratory group can review them for a conference-style educational experience.

Virtual microscopy in pathology is not just a passing trend but in use in many laboratories. Connect, practice, and learn. Join the early adopters who are using online education.

Barbara Blond is manager of CAP Surveys.