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CAP Home > CAP Committees and Leadership > Histotechnology Resource Committee (Ancillary to Surgical Pathology Committee) > NSH/CAP HistoQIP Program Frequently Asked Questions

  NSH/CAP HistoQIP Program
  Frequently Asked Questions

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Updated July 23, 2007

How are the slides evaluated?
Why are slides not returned?
What do I do if our lab doesn’t do a stain?
How are the challenges (tissues and stains) chosen?
Why do you limit the types of stains or tissues to be submitted?
What do I do if our lab doesn’t have the requested tissue?

How are the slides evaluated?

A panel of experienced histotechnologists and pathologists evaluates all slides. To reduce variation among the reviewers, a formal orientation is given at the start of every evaluation session and uniform criteria for each part of the challenge (fixation, processing, sectioning and staining) are defined and illustrated. This orientation reduces variation and ensures consistency in identifying artifacts. A statistical measure of each evaluator’s performance is also determined by reviewing common sets of slides at each session. These quality assurance steps have helped us make the process as uniform and fair as possible.
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Why are slides not returned?

The CAP retains the submitted slides to keep the cost of the program low. For those participants who wish to review their slides after receiving their results, we recommend creating a duplicate set of stained slides and keeping one set for that purpose.
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What do I do if our lab doesn’t do a stain?

Submit only those stains offered by your laboratory. For any requested stain that is not done by your laboratory, do not submit a slide and leave those portions of the result form blank. Do not purchase reagents or control slides solely for the purpose of completing a HistoQIP exercise.
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How are the challenges (tissues and stains) chosen?

A committee of pathologists and histotechnologists from CAP and NSH together determine what stains and tissues will be assessed in each challenge. Specific tissues and stains are selected to identify common problems, e.g., fixation and processing of fatty breast tissue; optimal cytologic detail in decalcified bone marrow biopsies, proper embedding and sectioning of skin biopsies; optimum preparation of amyloid stains, etc. The committee strives to include cases that will allow laboratories to identify areas that can be improved.
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Why do you limit the types of stains or tissues to be submitted?

The program is designed to allow laboratories to compare their performance with that of their peers. Allowing broad discretion of the nature of the stain (e.g., brightfield vs. fluorescent techniques) or the types of tissue chosen would limit our ability to compare laboratories. Consistency in testing materials also reduces variation and bias in evaluating slides.
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What do I do if our lab doesn’t have the requested tissue?

Because of the wide spectrum of laboratories that participate in HistoQIP, it is not possible to always select tissue types that are seen in every laboratory. For many of the special stains, the tissue is not specified and only a control is requested. For cases in which a tissue is specified but is not seen in your laboratory, do not submit a slide and leave those portions of the result form blank.
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