Q & A
David C. Wilbur, MD
Q. Our hospital administrator has been using the NGCprogram performance results of our laboratory, individual pathologists, and individual cytotechnologists to assess job performance and competency and for credentialing. Is this appropriate?
A. It is not appropriate. The slides in the
NGC program are submitted by the members of the Nongynecologic Working Group
and are reviewed by other committee members before they begin circulating.
However, these slides have not undergone the rigorous statistical validation
that would be required for them to be used as a tool for measuring competency.
This is in contradistinction to the slides in the CAP Pap program, which are
extensively circulated and statistically validated before entering graded
sets and which can be used to assess competency. Because the NGC slides are
not rigorously validated, it would be inappropriate for any individual's or
laboratory's performance on the NGC slides to be used as a measure of job
performance or as a criterion for credentialing. Moreover, the NGC program
sends out very unusual and diagnostically challenging cases that have good
educational value but would never be expected to validate or be diagnosed
by a large majority of general pathologists because of their complexity or
rarity. The NGC slides should be used only for educational and internal quality assurance purposes.
Jonathan H. Hughes, MD, PhD
Member, Cytopathology Committee
Laboratory Medicine Consultants, Ltd.